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Namira Salim flew to space on the Virgin Galactic 04 mission on October 6, 2023.

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Expat becomes first female space tourist from UAE

Dubai-based expatriate Namira Salim has become the first female space tourist from the UAE and Pakistan’s first astronaut.

Salim flew to space on the Virgin Galactic 04 mission on Friday (October 6). She was joined by co-astronauts Ron Rosano from the US and Trevor Bettie from the UK. Also aboard was Chief Astronaut Instructor Beth Moses.

 

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The space flight marks the end of a 17-year wait for Salim, 52, who reportedly bought a $200,000 ticket to fly on the commercial flight back in 2006. Billionaire Richard Brandon gave her the title of Founder Astronaut when she bought her seat to the flight.

During the space flight on Friday, Salim and her co-space tourists entered almost zero gravity, including four minutes of weightlessness aboard the spaceplane VSS Unity.

The Pakistan government has officially recognized Salim as the first Pakistani astronaut.

Friday’s space flight was piloted by Commander Kelly Latimer and pilot CJ Sturckow. The Virgin Galactic 04 mission is its 9th space flight, and fourth commercial space flight. Virgin Galactic launched five space flights in 2023 alone.

Salim has told media that traveling to space has always been her childhood dream. The adventurer has trained as a pilot, skydived near Mount Everest and traveled to the North Pole and South Pole.

She served as Pakistan’s honourary ambassador of tourism in 2007 and was conferred the medal of excellence by the Pakistan president in 2011. ICA/Expat Media


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