Pakistani Space Tourist Returns to Earth with Historic Space Journey

Virgin Galactic achieved a historic milestone by launching the first Pakistani woman, Namira Salim, into space alongside two fellow passengers. This significant journey marked Virgin Galactic’s fourth commercial spaceflight and unfolded aboard the VSS Unity spaceplane, coupled with the carrier craft, Virgin Mothership Eve (VMS Eve), departing from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

The ascent began as VMS Eve carried VSS Unity to an altitude of approximately 45,000 feet (13,700 meters). Subsequently, Unity’s rocket motor roared to life, propelling it into suborbital space. Virgin Galactic celebrated the moment, announcing, “Virgin Spaceship (VSS) Unity has successfully released from our mothership Virgin Mother Ship (VNS) Eve and ignited the rocket motor.”

During this extraordinary flight, the spaceplane ascended to an impressive apogee of 54.3 miles above the Earth’s surface, achieving a remarkable top speed of Mach 2.95, nearly three times the speed of sound. A captivating photo shared by the company depicted passengers experiencing weightlessness as they gazed out of the windows into the vastness of space.

The awe-inspiring journey reached its culmination as VSS Unity gracefully touched down at Spaceport America at 12:43 pm EDT (1643 GMT). The flight was under the command of Kelly Latimer and CJ Sturckow, accompanied by Chief Astronaut Instructor Beth Moses. Managing the cockpits of VMS Eve were Commander Nicola Pecile and pilot Jameel Janjua, the latter being a Pakistani-Canadian.

Namira Salim, designated as Virgin Galactic’s Astronaut 019, boasts a rich background as a world traveler, entrepreneur, and artist deeply engaged with the realm of space. Before embarking on this remarkable flight, she received warm wishes from none other than Virgin Galactic’s founder, Richard Branson.

Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Masood Khan, joined in congratulating Namira Salim on her extraordinary achievement, recognizing that her journey had allowed the Pakistani flag to proudly flutter in the expanse of space.

Syed Hassan Shah

Social activist and junior reporter at thepost e-newspaper.

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