Namira Salim will be the first Pakistani to reach space on Virgin Galactic’s upcoming mission, Galactic 04, scheduled to launch from New Mexico’s Spaceport America on October 5. The mission will carry three customers to suborbital space and back.
“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,” Salim posted on X on September 17.
Salim, the founder and chairperson of the nonprofit Space Trust, has a record of seeking adventures. According to her website, she’s the first Pakistani to visit both the North Pole (in April 2007) and the South Pole (in January 2008). Back in 2006, Salim was one of the first 100 people to buy a ticket with Virgin Galactic. Back then, the price was $200,000 — it has since risen to $450,000.
Galactic 04 will be Virgin’s fourth commercial spaceflight, following three successful launches in June, August and September. The mission will carry three customers to suborbital space and back — British advertising executive Trevor Beattie and American astronomy educator Ron Rosano.
Joining these space tourists in the cabin of Virgin Galactic‘s VSS Unity space plane will be Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor. Kelly Latimer and C.J. Sturckow will fly the VSS Unity space plane on Galactic 04, and Nicola Pecile and Jameel Janjua will be at the controls of VMS Eve, the carrier plane that hauls Unity off the ground. The carrier plane drops the spacecraft at an altitude of 13,7000 meters, Unity will then light up its rocket motor to get to suborbital space.
Virgin Galactic is a spaceflight company founded by Richard Branson in 2004. The space company has conducted a series of test flights and has gradually moved closer to offering commercial suborbital spaceflights to the public. Branson himself took a flight on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo in July 2021, a milestone in the company’s development.