Namira Salim is a Pakistani explorer, artist, and the first female astronaut from her country. She is also the founder and executive chairperson of Space Trust, a non-profit initiative that promotes space as a tool for peace. Namira has achieved many remarkable feats in her adventurous career, such as reaching the North and South Poles, skydiving over Mount Everest, and becoming one of the first 100 future space tourists of Virgin Galactic. In this article, we will learn more about her inspiring journey and her upcoming space flight.
Namira Salim – A Passion for Exploration
Namira was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and grew up with a fascination for the stars. She studied international affairs at Columbia University and Hofstra University in the United States, and pursued her artistic talents in music, poetry, and design. She moved to Monaco in 1997, where she became a citizen in 2011. She also holds dual citizenship of Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.
Namira’s passion for exploration led her to join several expeditions to some of the most extreme places on Earth. In April 2007, she became the first Pakistani and the first woman from Monaco and Dubai to reach the North Pole. She hoisted the flags of her three countries and a peace flag at the top of the world. In January 2008, she repeated the feat at the South Pole, becoming the first person from Monaco and Dubai and the first Pakistani woman to do so. She also became the first Asian to skydive (tandem) over Mount Everest in October 2008, during the First Everest Skydives event.
A Dream of Space Travel
Namira’s ultimate dream was to travel to space. In 2006, she joined Virgin Galactic’s Founder Astronaut Club as one of the first 100 future space tourists for a suborbital space flight on Virgin Galactic’s commercial space liner. She was personally introduced by Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, to the world press in March 2006. She completed her suborbital spaceflight training at the NASTAR Center in the United States in 2007.
Namira has been waiting for more than a decade for her chance to fly to space. She has faced many delays and challenges, including the fatal crash of VSS Enterprise in 2014 that killed one pilot and injured another. However, she has remained optimistic and patient, saying that space travel is worth the wait.
In August 2023, Namira finally arrived in the United States to embark on her space journey aboard Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spacecraft. She is scheduled to launch on October 5th from Spaceport America in New Mexico. She will be one of six passengers on board, along with two pilots. The flight will last about an hour and a half, reaching an altitude of about 100 kilometers (62 miles), where Namira will experience weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth.
Namira said that she is very grateful for her country’s support and that she will take the flag of Pakistan into space with pride. She also said that she hopes to inspire young people, especially girls, to pursue their dreams and passions.
A Vision of Peace
Namira is not only an adventurer, but also a peace activist. She is the founder and executive chairperson of Space Trust, a non-profit initiative that aims to use space as a sustainable tool for peace making on Earth. Space Trust engages world leaders, United Nations, and the global space industry to advocate for space diplomacy and cooperation.
Namira is also a global thought leader in supporting United Nations’ Space Diplomacy pillar toward Space2030, in support of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda. She is currently working on Space Trust’s maiden mission to space, [Zero Gravity] 0G Peace Mission 20230 [0G2030], a STEM based capacity building 3 Unit Cube Satellite mission in partnership with the University of Nairobi and the University of Arizona. The mission was awarded a free launch opportunity by the United Nations-Avio SpA collaboration to provide Access to Space for All.
Namira believes that space can bring people together and foster a culture of peace and harmony. She said that space is a common heritage of humanity and that everyone should have a chance to experience it.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article about Namira Salim, Pakistan’s first female astronaut and polar explorer. We wish her all the best for her upcoming space flight and her future endeavors. What do you think about her achievements and vision? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!