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Pakistan’s first astronaut Namira Salim return after space adventure

WASHINGTON – Namira Salim, who has become the first Pakistani to travel into space on Friday, safely returned to earth. 

She embarked on the Virgin Galactic’s fifth successful flight in five months for her travel to space. Salim, who previously holds the record of first Pakistani to travel to both poles, was had bought a ticket with billionaire Richard Branson’s space company after it was established almost two decades ago.

Salim announced her return to earth in a post on X, she wrote: “From Space back to Earth! First Pakistani Astronaut. First Female Virgin Galactic Founder Astronaut! And many more Firsts!”

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”es” dir=”ltr”>Correction: <a href=”;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#FIRST</a> Pakistani Astronaut</p>&mdash; Namira Salim (@namirasalim) <a href=””>October 6, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src=”” charset=”utf-8″></script>

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>POV: You’re a spaceship camera on VSS Unity during <a href=”;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Galactic04</a>. ???? <a href=””></a></p>&mdash; Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) <a href=””>October 6, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src=”” charset=”utf-8″></script>

Before her space journey, Salim also shared how she feels “proud” to raise the national flag in space – a remarkable achievement for the country and especially its women. 

 “Proud to fly the national flag high in space Insha’Allah on October 6,” Salim shared on social media ahead of her departure alongside three other space travelers: British advertising executive Trevor Beattie and Ameri¬can astronomy educator Ron Rosano. 

Previously, Virgin Galactic delayed its next space tourism mission by a day “to complete vehicle prep and checks.”

“The slip will give our team an additional day to complete vehicle prep and checks,” they wrote on their platform X account. “We look forward to taking to the skies (on Friday)!”

The mission, called Galactic 04, allowed three paying customers to be sent into suborbital space and back on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity space plane. They witnessed several minutes of weightlessness and were able to see the curvature of Earth against the backdrop of outer space.

Unity lifted off beneath the wings of its carrier plane, Virgin Mothership (VMS) Eve, from New Mexico’s Spaceport America. 

But Salim isn’t the only Pakistani on this galactic venture, VMS Eve is also piloted by a Canadian of Pakistani origin, Jameel Janjua. Janjua completed over 4,000 flying hours in 45+ different vehicles before joining Virgin Galactic.

Salim was one of the first 100 people to buy a ticket with Virgin Galactic, in 2006 priced at $200,000 back then. The ticket now costs $450,000.

Salim is the founder and chairperson of the nonprofit Space Trust. 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).

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