Space enthusiasts and adventurers worldwide are eagerly awaiting a historic moment next month as Namira Salim, the renowned explorer, is set to become the first Pakistani to venture into space. Salim will embark on this groundbreaking journey as part of Virgin Galactic’s upcoming mission, “Galactic 04,” with a scheduled launch date of October 5 from New Mexico’s Spaceport America.
Taking to social media, Salim expressed her excitement by posting on X (formerly known as Twitter) on Sunday (September 17), saying, “Thrilled to take to the #stars with @trevorbmbagency and @ronrosano aboard #Galactic04 with @virgingalactic. Inspiring #girls #women and #youth globally to reach for the stars.” Galactic 04 is poised to carry three customers on a suborbital space voyage, including Salim, British advertising executive Trevor Beattie, and American astronomy educator Ron Rosano.
Within the cabin of Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spaceplane, these space tourists will be joined by Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor. Piloting the VSS Unity spaceplane on Galactic 04 will be Kelly Latimer and C.J. Sturckow, while Nicola Pecile and Jameel Janjua will be at the helm of VMS Eve, the carrier plane responsible for lifting Unity to an altitude of about 45,000 feet (13,700 meters) before Unity ignites its rocket motor for its suborbital journey.
As the mission’s name suggests, Galactic 04 represents Virgin’s fourth commercial spaceflight, following successful launches in June, August, and September earlier this year.
Namira Salim, known for her adventurous spirit, is the founder and chairperson of the nonprofit organization Space Trust. Her remarkable achievements include being the first Pakistani to visit both the North Pole in April 2007 and the South Pole in January 2008, as per her website.
Salim’s association with Virgin Galactic dates back to 2006 when she became one of the first 100 people to secure a ticket for the space journey. At the time, the cost of a ticket was $200,000, but it has since risen to $450,000.
The upcoming “Galactic 04” mission not only marks a historic milestone for Pakistan but also serves as an inspiration to individuals worldwide, particularly girls, women, and youth, encouraging them to aim for the stars in pursuit of their dreams. Namira Salim’s pioneering voyage to space promises to be a momentous event in the annals of space exploration.