Pakistan's first astronaut: A star is launched

Published: June 7, 2011
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Salim at the unveiling of the spaceships which will carry her to space next year. (Right) Salim jumping off Mount Everest in Oct 2008. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Salim at the unveiling of the spaceships which will carry her to space next year. (Right) Salim jumping off Mount Everest in Oct 2008. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Salim at the unveiling of the spaceships which will carry her to space next year. (Right) Salim jumping off Mount Everest in Oct 2008. PHOTO: EXPRESS
Salim at the unveiling of the spaceships which will carry her to space next year. (Right) Salim jumping off Mount Everest in Oct 2008. PHOTO: EXPRESS
ISLAMABAD: 

Namira Salim’s star is about to launch as she is set to become Pakistan’s first astronaut. Her maiden voyage will be in 2012.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Salim said this was a dream come true for her.  All her hard work and training will soon pay off. Although the date for the launch is not yet fixed, she says her team is ready.

“I got my first telescope when I was 14 years old,” says Salim.  Holding a Master’s in international affairs from Columbia University, Salim was an active member of astronomy clubs in college and university and was also the first female member of the Amateur Astronomy Society of Pakistan. Rather than being a hindrance, Salim says that her gender always gave her an edge over her male counterparts.

Salim, who divides her time between Dubai and Paris, was feted for her groundbreaking achievements by President Zardari, who awarded her the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz for excellence in sports.

Sir Richard Branson, chairman of the Virgin Group, officially launched Salim as a Virgin Galactic Founder Astronaut in Dubai in March 2006. Hearing of this, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting dubbed her the first Pakistani astronaut.

She is also the First Asian to skydive from an altitude higher than the peak of Mount Everest, at 29,480 feet. Salim also hoisted the national flags of Pakistan, the UAE, Monaco, the EU and a universal peace flag at the North Pole on April 21, 2007 and at the South Pole on January 10, 2008.  She is the first Pakistani to trek to both the North and South Poles.

Salim’s space voyage will be the second flight launched into space by Branson. The mogul himself and his family will go on the first flight. Her flight will be launched from the space port in Mojave Desert in California sometime next year.  “We will be in space for a few hours and then come back,” said Salim.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (119)

  • Iffo
    Jun 7, 2011 - 10:13AM

    Wao.niceRecommend

  • SK
    Jun 7, 2011 - 10:17AM

    you go girl !!Recommend

  • Asim+Ali
    Jun 7, 2011 - 10:17AM

    Now this is news. Graduate from Columbia, and becoming the first Pakistani astronaut. this is what the world recognizes and this is what we the country needs to nurture and invest in, ‘bright resources’Recommend

  • mariam
    Jun 7, 2011 - 10:34AM

    this is beyond cool….im so genuinely happy! Recommend

  • amal
    Jun 7, 2011 - 10:36AM

    awesome…is it simply a plain visit to moon or an expedition by NASA for their space missionsRecommend

  • Watchman
    Jun 7, 2011 - 11:10AM

    heavynesss!!Recommend

  • RizwanTKhan
    Jun 7, 2011 - 11:11AM

    Impressive. Keep up the great work.Recommend

  • zeeshan imran
    Jun 7, 2011 - 11:12AM

    let’s just hope she doesn’t land on mars and claim it as ‘ The islamic republic of the martians”Recommend

  • Moderate
    Jun 7, 2011 - 11:16AM

    You are the WOMAN!Recommend

  • ghairatmand
    Jun 7, 2011 - 11:24AM

    That makes her astronaut ?????????????Recommend

  • Z. Akbar
    Jun 7, 2011 - 11:31AM

    A Proud achievement for Pakistan! These people are the pride of Pakistan…we should be judged on them and not these jihadis.

    My hopes and payers with her.

    Reach for the stars Pakistan!Recommend

  • Jun 7, 2011 - 11:36AM

    Namira you are the nations PRIDE.Recommend

  • CM
    Jun 7, 2011 - 11:50AM

    @ghairatmand: Last time I checked, going on a space voyage makes one an astronaut.Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    Jun 7, 2011 - 11:51AM

    I wonder what our religious scholars have to say about this? whether the Koran or Hadith
    allows a woman to enter outer space, or they are mere commodities to be bought and sold
    on the commodity exchange. Let us give Namira the push with blessing and enthusiasm and
    receive her with honors.Recommend

  • JudasPriest
    Jun 7, 2011 - 12:01PM

    Just being a Space Tourist does not make you an Astronaut!Recommend

  • Talat Haque
    Jun 7, 2011 - 12:28PM

    Truly, truly amazing ………….. absolutely something to dance, sing and jump about !!!!Recommend

  • ayman
    Jun 7, 2011 - 12:32PM

    amazing you really did something for your countryRecommend

  • omer
    Jun 7, 2011 - 12:40PM

    @JudasPriest:
    just having couple of fortune 500 companies does not make a nation a super power (hint: our eastern neighbour).Recommend

  • cm
    Jun 7, 2011 - 12:46PM

    @JudasPriest:
    Didnt know they sold ticket for “space tourism” for the general untrained public. Where can i buy some for a summer getaway?Recommend

  • Ali
    Jun 7, 2011 - 12:52PM

    An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft. While generally reserved for professional space travelers, the term is sometimes applied to anyone who travels into space, including scientists, politicians, journalists, and tourists…Recommend

  • Jun 7, 2011 - 12:57PM

    Bon VoyageRecommend

  • Sheeraz N. Khan
    Jun 7, 2011 - 1:08PM

    Finally somebody from Pakistan gets to live their dreams in a larger than life manner!

    In time of volatility, somebody goes out and makes an effort to resurrect the better image of a country plagued by all sorts of socio-economic and political cancers. To show the world what Pakistan is meant to and what it is capable of.

    Pakistan is a mother whose womb can nurture extraordinaries like Namira Salim who give us hope that we too as Pakistanis can one day walk the moon and show us that we too are capable of anything if we believe in ourselves.

    Namira Salim, we are very proud of you and we as a nation are in debt to you for letting us hold our heads high once again! God bless you and God speed! Recommend

  • indian guy
    Jun 7, 2011 - 1:10PM

    Richard Branson of Virgin?

    He can take anybody into space for a price. I thought she was selected by NASA. Some of the commercial planes go closer to space itself.Recommend

  • sashayub
    Jun 7, 2011 - 1:38PM

    if she divides her time between Dubai and Paris, is she still carrying her Pakistani passport, or dropped it between here and there? i would really want to know, because if she does not have a green passport….that takes away the ‘being-a-different-woman-from-pakistan’ spotlight from herRecommend

  • mandan
    Jun 7, 2011 - 1:46PM

    this is half astronaut, not a complete oneRecommend

  • Saad Siddiqui
    Jun 7, 2011 - 1:55PM

    Go Girl ! Best of Luck !Recommend

  • Sheeraz N. Khan
    Jun 7, 2011 - 2:14PM

    Finally somebody from Pakistan gets to live their dreams in a larger than life manner!
    In time of volatility, somebody goes out and makes an effort to resurrect the better image of a country plagued by all sorts of socio-economic and political cancers. To show the world what Pakistan is meant to and what it is capable of.
    Pakistan is a mother whose womb can nurture extraordinaries like Namira Salim who give us hope that we too as Pakistanis can one day walk on the moon and show us that we too are capable of anything. Namira, we are proud of you and are in debt to you as nation for helping us hold our heads high once again. God bless you and God speed! Recommend

  • Aqeel Ahmed
    Jun 7, 2011 - 2:15PM

    @Khalid Rahim:
    Could you please leave Islam out of this. The Quran nor the Hadith brand Women as commodities. I don’t know which Islam you are talking about and which so called Islamic scholars are you referring to who think Women are commodities. So please get your facts straight before your outburst of hatred or whatever you are angry about. As regards to Miss Nimra’s journey to outerspace, I am happy for her for achieving this milestone. Astronaut or space tourist, she will be in outer space, of which the majority of us can just dream off. So way to go Nimra!.Recommend

  • Rock
    Jun 7, 2011 - 2:51PM

    Pakistani don’t understand the difference between space tourist and an astronaut. You guys don’t even understand space voyage and space mission. Please read about “kalpana Chawla” the indian-american astronaut. Recommend

  • Lobster
    Jun 7, 2011 - 3:04PM

    There is a HUGE difference in self-funded space tourist and an astronaut. Recommend

  • Rock
    Jun 7, 2011 - 3:13PM

    “Salim’s space voyage will be the second flight launched into space by Branson. The mogul himself and his family will go on the first flight.”
    Does this means branson family is world’s first astronaut family? They are just space tourist.Recommend

  • Enraged
    Jun 7, 2011 - 3:14PM

    Hats off to this lady! simply marvelous.
    Long time since i felt proud, after Osama fiasco.Recommend

  • G. Din
    Jun 7, 2011 - 3:24PM

    Space Tourist or Astronaut? Let us not go into technical gymnastics. The bottom line is that this is the kind of person and the kind of news Pakistan can use. I am not a Pakistani but have always felt that liberating the Muslim female should be the paramount aim of every one in the world. The day that is accomplished, the world will start on an era of Peace and Development. So, let us all encourage this young lady with words of good cheer!Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui
    Jun 7, 2011 - 3:32PM

    Here comes this indians on this post ! … ! :) ! No read their negative comments about Pakistan and Pakistanis !Recommend

  • SAK
    Jun 7, 2011 - 3:37PM

    @ Rock: “Please read about “Kalpana Chawla” the Indian-American astronaut.”

    You mean the one who blew up in a crash?

    Oops.Recommend

  • Nation Prevails
    Jun 7, 2011 - 3:51PM

    I smell jealousy from some commenter’s especially ROCK, please don’t try to teach us the difference b/w voyage and a mission, both are two sides of coin I would say that lets say that you have to got on some mission in space, and to do that you first have to travel or go on a voyage .And after reaching ur destination then u can complete u’r mission, so now u c that both words are two sides of a coin.

    And most people know who kalpana chawla was. I respect her, she fulfilled her dream.

    Dear Rock please don’t let urself be a narrow minded, Space is a big place we all can share it.Recommend

  • Humanity
    Jun 7, 2011 - 4:07PM

    @SAK wrote: You mean the one who blew up in a crash?
    Oops.

    Your ignorance is pathetic and your insensitivity equally disgusting.Recommend

  • Rock
    Jun 7, 2011 - 4:11PM

    @SAK: Exactly, along with other austronauts.But have you gone through the crash report and have seen the cause of the crash. The most important thing is she was an austronaut and not a space tourist. Recommend

  • Rock
    Jun 7, 2011 - 4:30PM

    @SAK: ok. You about first Indian austronaut “Rakesh Sharma”. Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui
    Jun 7, 2011 - 5:47PM

    LOL ! I wonder that on ET , whenever there is a topic about Pakistan or Pakistanis , you will see indians always wanting to show everyone that they are the most superior nation on earth.They never learn to give the credit to other,they can never appreaciate.Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui
    Jun 7, 2011 - 5:51PM

    I think Ali has given the definition of an “ASTRONAUT” i.e. from (Wiikipedia) .! indians think that only they can produce astronauts … LOL ! (ahh pleasant dreams )Recommend

  • NA
    Jun 7, 2011 - 5:55PM

    I really don’t understand what is the problem with my Indian friends. They are always worried about Pakistan more than their own country.Recommend

  • Rock
    Jun 7, 2011 - 6:05PM

    @Nation Prevails:
    For space voyage – No knowledge of astronomy is required just adjustment of your body to the specific environment which can be done within 6-8 months.
    For space mission – can you tell me what all things require? there are mechanics in the garage, there are also engineers. are they same? Now you decide it. Recommend

  • Rock
    Jun 7, 2011 - 6:12PM

    @Saad Siddiqui: No dear there only 3 indian origin astronauts in the world. Indians are always aware of limitations and capabilities. India’s next space mission is “Chandrayaan-2” Recommend

  • Norman
    Jun 7, 2011 - 6:14PM

    Dont these Indians have their own newspapers to read,instead of having to obsessively belittle everything about Pakistan..To all Indians:Go put on your dhotis and go watch one of your song and dance Bollywood crap!!Holy Cow!!and for Indian Muslims,yes,we know that you have to go the extra mile to prove your loyalty to India and you do this by Pakistan Bashing;we pity you for it,but good luck trying finding a house in a good part of Mumbai..stick to the slums!!Recommend

  • FaDi
    Jun 7, 2011 - 6:43PM

    May ALLAH bless you. Recommend

  • Mahmood
    Jun 7, 2011 - 7:21PM

    She is fit,tough and must be real sturd!!

    Any man would want a woman like her :)

    Bravo .keep it up dudette!!Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    Jun 7, 2011 - 7:45PM

    @Aqeel Ahmed:
    How can we! when people like yourself have demolished the spiritual value of religion and made it a political and commercial commodity.Recommend

  • Aurangzeb Rao
    Jun 7, 2011 - 8:21PM

    @Mahmood:
    what?Recommend

  • Fahad Raza
    Jun 7, 2011 - 8:56PM

    First an international judge Now an astronaut who says women are doin’ badRecommend

  • gonewithedrones
    Jun 7, 2011 - 9:34PM

    this will be totally against islam as far as taleban are concerned as she will be travelling with male counterparts.Recommend

  • Giganther
    Jun 7, 2011 - 9:56PM

    They say she is the first Pakistani astronaut. Ludicrous. She doesn’t even LIVE in Pakistan. Didn’t educate herself IN pakistan and spends her time between Paris and Dubai? hahaha Kudos to her for doing all this but they need to stop slapping the name of Pakistan with her because honestly to be a Pakistani you need to LIVE in Pakistan and be a part of it. Recommend

  • Giganther
    Jun 7, 2011 - 10:01PM

    @Khalid Rahim: I don’t think the Quran or Hadith says anything about A MAN entering or leaving space either…so I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui
    Jun 7, 2011 - 10:10PM

    @Rock:

    Did I talked to you ? ohhh u r the an indian .. !

    Indians are always aware of limitations and capabilities .. ! So what ? R u the only what who know about their limitations and capability ? .. WHO CARES if you are ,no one has asked you to tell about what indians are … ! we know our eastern neighbours well !

    India’s next space mission is “Chandrayaan-2″ , well what I could say other than Best of Luck… ! Huh hopeless indians ! Recommend

  • Cautious
    Jun 7, 2011 - 10:15PM

    Headline could be worded better — certainly implies she has been to space — however she is just on the passenger list of an experimental plane which hasn’t taken anyone to space yet.Recommend

  • ghairatmand
    Jun 7, 2011 - 10:47PM

    @CM: hmm, so if I buy a ticket to take a cruise to space travel, I become an astronaut! Good. Not to downplay her achievement but dude please do some research on what an astronaut is. It is not just someone who does a free ride on virgin galactic but someone who knows how to bring back the ship in case something goes wrong. She has masters in International affairs and is a “member” of “astronomy” club. Doesn’t make her an astronaut. But again, you guys should be proud that at least she is first Pakistani in space no matter what her qualification or status is :)Recommend

  • Abdul Halim
    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:57AM

    An astronaut = an aircraft pilot.
    A space-ship stowaway = a (very) fortunate tourist.
    Please clip on the safety belt …
    And read the inflight safety manual.Recommend

  • SaudiRules
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:38AM

    Anybody with $200,000 can take a flight to the space on the virgin galactic, that does not make person a “brave” astronaut!
    “President Zardari, who awarded her the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz for excellence in sport” , i did not know being a paid tourist on a space craft can qualify u for national honor!

    Seriously, dont be naive.

    http://www.virgingalactic.com/booking/
    Book your place in space now and join around 430 Virgin Galactic astronauts who will venture into space.

    Tickets cost $200,000 and deposits start from $20,000. If you are interested in discussing your reservation with us directly please fill in the booking form below and we will be in touch as soon as possible to answer any questions you may have. Or you can contact one of our Accredited Space Agents around the world. They have been specially selected and trained by us to handle all aspects of your spaceflight reservation. If you just want to receive regular updates from us then please click here.

    Virgin Galactic Mission Control Recommend

  • ANONYMOUS
    Jun 8, 2011 - 6:05AM

    To all my Indian friends in cyberspace,

    This article was meant to recognize a Pakistani woman’s achievements. The discussion on whether she is an astronaut, cosmonaut or a space tourist is totally irrelevant. The definition does not take anything away from what she has been able to accomplish.Your nation is doing well on the world stage please be happy with that and try not to feel superior by putting other people down. It’s the mark of a small mind.Recommend

  • Mahmood
    Jun 8, 2011 - 6:37AM

    @Aurangzeb Rao

    She is rough and tough maal.Recommend

  • Sunny Deol Pakistani
    Jun 8, 2011 - 6:49AM

    Which direction she would do the Namaz.Recommend

  • Sunny Deol Pakistani
    Jun 8, 2011 - 6:55AM

    Salim, who divides her time between Dubai and Paris. She is of Pakistani origin, for all practical purposes she is a Western. Think of the most hated President of the US in Pakistan, President Obama, he is not a Muslim and he is not from Kenya. Salim just like Obama is another proud Western. ( I do not know her citizenship status, but one thing is certain she divides her time between Dubai and Paris NOT DERA GHAZI KHAN and PESHAWAR )Recommend

  • Basheer
    Jun 8, 2011 - 7:04AM

    @Norman: Now that you have picked a fantastic topic lets address it. The mumbai slum is majorly populated by Muslims …true. Did anybody stop them from getting educated and prosper …false. The slum you are talking about, has per capita income far more than a person residing in a decent city in Pakistan…thats a fact, google up Dharavi and you will find it. In this way the muslims in slums in India are far better off then the muslims in most part of Pakistan….fact!. Besides all this bashing, you would like to know the most interesting fact about the residents of this slum ? A heavy population of these are Bangladeshi refugees who are illegal immigrant.And which country they choose to stay illegally, yes my dear, “India” …. cause they have more faith that they will earn livelihood here rather than in Pakistan where they might get indoctrinated towards terrorism. You give us enough reason to comment by making such a naive statement such as calling this fortunate woman an astronaut, and the way you guys feel proud shows have much starved you guys are morally that any random achievement by remotely a Pakistani makes it a news to make nation feel pride. I am not jealous of your achievement. I want Pakistan to progress, and seriously you wouldn’t believe how badly we want it to happen. A progressive and technically advanced Pakistan will keep us challenged in upping our own bar. But with a nation who just wants to increase nuclear stockpile and support good , bad or ugly taliban and who calls terrorists a freedom fighter, we have to divert our attention and money to security, arms and ammunition rather than doing anything progressive for our lesser privileged citizens. Thats what irks people like me, not your progress. Please make some real progress and I assure you Indians like me will definitely encourage and look fwd to work with you.
    @To my Bangla brothers, you are still most welcome, sorry we cannot provide you good facilities but we have our own citizens who haven’t got their due yet. Recommend

  • Tippu
    Jun 8, 2011 - 7:59AM

    Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!

    Congrads and God speed!!Recommend

  • Rahul Singh
    Jun 8, 2011 - 8:35AM

    This is UnIslamic, a woman can’t travel in space without any family member accompanying
    her.Recommend

  • Jim
    Jun 8, 2011 - 9:02AM

    I would love for Pakistan to produce great astronauts, scientists, engineers, humanists etc. But fantasy, self-delusion, ignorance, self-aggrandisement etc is not going to do it. Most Pakistanis don’t know ass from elbow when it comes to science; there is simply no scientific temper in the country — and Pakistani journalists are at the forefront of this ignorance (I haven’t read a single Pakistani science correspondent in all my years of reading Pakistani media). The good Dr Pervez Hoodbuoy, one of the few distinguished Pakistanis with a scientific temper and humanist outlook, will likely bear out what I am saying.

    I will be happy for Pakistan the day I read or hear that it has achieved 100 per cent enrollment in primary schools; and that children are being taught science and math instead of religious and historical garbage. Once that happens, Pakistani will automatically produce astronauts and not have to try and own some expatriate who is basically going on a Branson-promoted space junket. Recommend

  • Norman
    Jun 8, 2011 - 10:19AM

    To Basheer….Really,,I have travelled extensively within India and believe me the conditions of the muslims there(My own family originates from there) have never failed to apall me ,whether the slums of Mumbai or the ghettos of Delhi and Lucknow..and their backward mindset(with very few exceptions;not every one can be Shahrukh Khan and Sania Mirza)You are just another victim of the international and especially the Indians press’es constant negative propaganda..And you have no Idea,how sophisticated,affluent and big the Pakistan middle class,and even the general population is..compared to the mostly ghetto-bound(and very backward) Indian muslims(most of the the muslim middle class and elite fled to Pakistan in 1947)..All Indian visitors who come to Pakistan say that they never expected Pakistan to be like what it is,as its presented very starkly in black and white in thier media…Also if the Mumbai slum dwellers are as prosperous as you say they are,then why do they still continue to live in the slums?..point to ponder…Also,talking of Bangladeshi Immigrants,there are millions in Pakistan and and a constant stream continously coming in,along with the Burmese,who cross India to reach Pakistan,along with thousands of Indian Muslims.Do you know that Pakistan,despite its many problems and challenges,is home to one of the largest refugee/illegal immigrant population in the world?Apart from Bangladeshis,Burmese,Indian muslims(incl Kashmiris),we also are home to millions of Afghans as well Central Asians,Iranians,and even an increasing number of Iraqis and Africans and others…Frankly,this one of the many causes of Pakistans problems..so dont believe everything u read in the papers,come and see for yourself!!Recommend

  • Sarah
    Jun 8, 2011 - 10:20AM

    She has beautiful hair :PRecommend

  • S
    Jun 8, 2011 - 10:20AM

    @Basheer: whatever, dude, we’ll always be better looking.
    ;)Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 10:57AM

    I think this is really inspirational as I can absolutely associate with and have a similar dream. My best wishes accompany this lady while I will surely be anticipating reading further about her success.Recommend

  • Asif
    Jun 8, 2011 - 11:58AM

    I wonder why didn’t the reporter mention that you have to pay $ 200,000 to Virgin Galactic to get a flight into space. And that doesn’t make a person an Astronaut, you are called a Space Tourist.Recommend

  • Aqeel Ahmed
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:13PM

    @Khalid Rahim:

    You have just labelled me with something…and you don’t know the first thing about me…why don’t you keep your opinions to yourself. To judge someone you have to know that person first or is that too difficult to understand for you. Persons like you instead of negating the propaganda launched against our religion, just join in blindly to give more air to it. Clearly you are influenced by the media. Use your own judgment for a change, not the information being stuffed in your brainRecommend

  • Aqeel Ahmed
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:19PM

    @Giganther:

    Mr. Khalid is not making a point…because he doesn’t have a point. People like him are just making a news article racially, politically and religion based, just to get noticed. Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 12:29PM

    that is a good news and she must have been working hard for the training, i know i cant do it. because i am scared of heights.Recommend

  • Arslan
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:23PM

    @Rahul Singh:
    Okay Maulvi Rahul Singh, you’re obviously the first man to give us these kind of fatwa.

    PS: get a life.Recommend

  • Omer
    Jun 8, 2011 - 5:16PM

    No one mentions how much she is paying for it?!Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui
    Jun 8, 2011 - 5:48PM

    @Omer:
    Why do you want to know ? Maybe she is rich enough to pay for it . Why do all Pakistanis have a mindset that a person who spends more is earning illegally ? Are you jealous of her money ?Recommend

  • Richard+Branson
    Jun 8, 2011 - 7:41PM

    Dear Pakistanis,
    Here is a way to make you an instant hero in pakistan! In fact you will be given a national-honor medal, presented to you by the president of pakistan. All you need is dady’s hard-looted $200,000!
    Thank you suckers, yours truly Richard Branson.
    P.S. Please click on the following link!

    http://www.virgingalactic.com/booking/
    Book your place in space now and join around 430 Virgin Galactic astronauts who will venture into space.
    Tickets cost $200,000 and deposits start from $20,000. If you are interested in discussing your reservation with us directly please fill in the booking form below and we will be in touch as soon as possible to answer any questions you may have. Or you can contact one of our Accredited Space Agents around the world. They have been specially selected and trained by us to handle all aspects of your spaceflight reservation. If you just want to receive regular updates from us then please click here.
    Virgin Galactic Mission ControlRecommend

  • Temur
    Jun 8, 2011 - 8:06PM

    Norman yar, forget the Pakistani newspapers, there is hardly any Pakitsani website which is saved from this filth.Recommend

  • Omer
    Jun 8, 2011 - 8:16PM

    @Saad Siddiqui:
    No i am not jealous but thanks for judging me! I wonder why all pakistanis do that??!

    You dont earn accolades by buying a service.

    Space tourist fine, but please don’t belittle the word astronaut.Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui
    Jun 8, 2011 - 9:12PM

    @Omar

    LOL, u have a problem with her money or with the word astronaut used for her ? Stick to 1 problem at a time dear :)Recommend

  • Rahul Singh
    Jun 8, 2011 - 10:03PM

    @Arslan: common Mr.Arslan don’t you live in Pakistan or follow Islam, you should be used to such type of fatwasRecommend

  • Saad Siddiqui
    Jun 8, 2011 - 11:35PM

    @Omer:
    U have problem with her money or the word astronaut used for her ? Stick to one “problem” at a time …! You have to many :)) , concentrate on one dear !Recommend

  • Infaxis
    Jun 9, 2011 - 2:25AM
  • Nadeem Ahmed
    Jun 9, 2011 - 2:35AM

    I won’t call her an astronaut nor anyone who buys to travel few minutes in zero gravity conditions. Climbing at K2 is completely different than watching its peak from window of the aircraft. Astronauts are a different breed who earn this title with great hardship. The projection of this lady is a publicity stunt from so called spacecraft company to book more seats. I own 1000 shares of Micrsoft, should I consider myself one of the owners of Microsoft?Recommend

  • Bond
    Jun 9, 2011 - 2:53AM

    This news was first published 4 years back… I guess space liner timeline got delayed..
    here is the news from 4 years ago..

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2007-10-22/pakistan/279900551namira-salim-space-tourists-tribal-areasRecommend

  • acenith harper
    Jun 9, 2011 - 4:11AM

    way to go norman !! sick opf indian rude remarks !! miss salim makes pakistan proud ! pakistan is full of talent and brain ! GO GIRL Recommend

  • nina habib khan
    Jun 9, 2011 - 4:45AM

    salute to u girl, my all wishes n prays for u sweetie, u r our pride Recommend

  • Basheer
    Jun 9, 2011 - 9:12AM

    @S: oh man I agree with you on that :) Northern and western part of our sub continent had always been blessed with looks no doubt about it :)Recommend

  • sars
    Jun 9, 2011 - 10:43AM

    How abt we give credit where its due.She is doing something most of us will never get to do(lets not argue semantics).More power to her!.Lets hope that when we do something out of the ordinary people will be as supportive as the most of the comments posted here.Recommend

  • Omer
    Jun 9, 2011 - 11:39AM

    @Saad Siddiqui

    Had you bothered to understand my first comment you would have known that i had a problem with her being called an astronaut. She is as much an Astronaut as much as I am a Pilot when i book a flight on PIA as a passenger. I hope you can tell the difference.

    My first question wanted to point out that this was a bought service, you failed to understand that.

    You are the one harping about here money in every sentence, so apparently you are obsessed with the amount of money she has. Do want to be an astronaut too, but not have the money?

    People like you would probably never be able to tell black from white.

    BTW are you her agent or something?Recommend

  • Norman
    Jun 9, 2011 - 4:52PM

    South African IT billionare,Mark Shuttleworth,a few years ago at the age of 28,paid a whopping sum of $20million to be one of the worlds first space tourist and was called the first astronaut from Africa,(“Afro-naut”).He won the heart of the entire South African nation,across the social/racial divide,when he raised the South African flag in space.He spoke to the entire nation from outer space, from Nelson Mandela to a 12 year old school girl who asked him to marry her!!He made the entire nation proud and had the support of the entire country..He,then later used his celebrity status to initiate many charitable/philanthropic programmes in underprivileged communities,especially in the field of scientific education,which are still very active to this day and do wonderful work,So,lets not over-analyse Miss Salim’s intentions and motivations too much;the fact is she, like Mark Shuttleworth is the first person from her country to travel to outerspace and lets be proud of her achievement.Also,lets hope that she in turn would return the nations good wishes and support and follow in Mark’s footsteps and do some good work for her country of origin.She has my best wishes…and I hope to see the green and white star and cresent unfurled in outer space for the whole world to see…Recommend

  • Maqbool
    Jun 9, 2011 - 5:01PM

    As visiting a research lab do not make you a scientist, similarly paying for a space flight do not make someone an “Astronaut”.
    At best she can called the first pakistani “space tourist”.Recommend

  • Bangash
    Jun 9, 2011 - 8:41PM

    Well done, an inspiration.Recommend

  • Ayesha Babar
    Jun 9, 2011 - 9:01PM

    woohoo! you go girl! Recommend

  • Naveeda Shaikh
    Jun 9, 2011 - 10:11PM

    Now this makes a mood pleasant. I will be true I felt some envy but that envy is that you gave us another highest record to break in Pakistan in order to become the BEST. Go girl, go. I am genuinely happy. Yooooooo!!!

    Three Hurrays for her guys! Recommend

  • jai
    Jun 9, 2011 - 10:50PM

    she’s a space tourist not an astronaut. Astronauts train for years.Recommend

  • G. Din
    Jun 10, 2011 - 12:00AM

    @Nadeem Ahmed:
    “…I own 1000 shares of Micrsoft, should I consider myself one of the owners of Microsoft?”
    Yes, you can!
    Otherwise, there has got to be a reason why most of the commentators here who are nitpicking on the words “astronaut” and the “tourists” are Muslims/Pakistanis. Is it because they feel that the genie is escaping from the bottle and once she does so, there is no returning her back into the bottle? Control freaks?Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui
    Jun 10, 2011 - 9:56AM

    @Omer:

    LOL !have you ever read the definition of an astronaut , here it is

    “A person trained to pilot, navigate, or otherwise participate as a crew member of a spacecraft.”

    and about money , its you who started whining about her money , Not me .

    If you do not agree with her being called an astronaut, go and invent your version of language.

    Besides your other problems, you also have a problem in understanding the differences between 2 fields , there is a vast difference between astronaut and a pilot !!!

    Get a life dude. Seriously . I smell jealousy . !Recommend

  • Rahul Singh
    Jun 10, 2011 - 10:44AM

    it is unfortunate that this esteemed newspaper could not differentiate between an astronaut and space tourist. It should have been made clear thus avoiding the false pride generated in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Ihk
    Jun 10, 2011 - 3:00PM

    WOW! This is so hilarious! Fools trying to outsmart bigger fools on what? Whether the lady is a tourist or an astronaut?
    Whether her going in space is Islamic or not?
    Why suddenly Quran and Islam are again at the brunt of everyone’s wrath?
    WAKE UP people…this is the kind of news you read, commend, say ‘yay!’ and MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIVES… sheesh.Recommend

  • BleedingKarachi
    Jun 10, 2011 - 4:22PM

    @Ihk:
    Good!!!! actually we need something always to rant about. coz we dont have anything to do.Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui
    Jun 11, 2011 - 8:39PM

    @Ihk , I agree ppl have almost problem with everything because they themselves cant do a thing on their own , so you call these ppl “HOPELESS” and “HELPLESS” ! this goes for indians present here too ! Recommend

  • Ali
    Jun 12, 2011 - 6:22AM

    That’s a really good news.
    By the way, Virgin Galactic is a commercial service for space visits that is going to start next year.
    You can go as well, if you have Money.Recommend

  • indian guy
    Jun 12, 2011 - 1:01PM

    can we say ” A star is created”?Recommend

  • Jun 12, 2011 - 3:12PM

    Congratulations!!! Pakistani Women is progressing in every aspect of life. General trend in the society is that girls are not preferred to complete their studies and more attention is given to their early marriage. Therefore, educating women of Pakistan is now more important then ever. Education will not only enable women to fare well domestically, but it will allow them to rid their families of poverty also.Recommend

  • Osama
    Jun 14, 2011 - 9:00AM

    Are the Bransons astronauts as well? Very unlikely

    In this case anyone with money can be an astronaut. This is just space tourism.. It’s great fo Pakistan.to have its first space Tourist. Note this is business for Branson, he is launching space tourism just like he has his airline Co. VIRGIN AIRWAYS.

    Call a spade a spade, nothing else? Recommend

  • dodo
    Jun 14, 2011 - 5:09PM

    @ghairatmand:
    exactly.. she is just going on a visit and fulfilling the requirements to go for the trip.. i do not understand the hype!
    i mean it is good but it is not like she has invented something for NASA? it is like you are going to have a ride on the worlds fastest roller coaster.. :) its good.. courage appreciated but so what.. so many people do it!Recommend

  • Uzair
    Jun 15, 2011 - 9:24AM

    This so called “Kalpana Chawla” doesn’t like to be called an Indian .. get your facts straight…..Recommend

  • Jun 15, 2011 - 12:12PM

    @Uzair, why would not an Indian take an advantage?Recommend

  • MQ
    Jun 16, 2011 - 10:34PM

    I wish Namira Salim all the best!

    @Khalil Rahim.

    You are the one who unnecessarily brought religion into this. If you’re so concerned about the spiritual aspect of religion and since you know so much about it, please enlighten us if Islam or any other religion for that matter teaches us to point fingers at others without knowing them or their views by making statements like the one that you have posted above? Recommend

  • Waseem
    Jun 20, 2011 - 4:27AM

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    Really proud on her good wishes and pray for future i always believe girls can do anything if they likes but they should always take care their own Limits and Respect. Also they should prove the true the Trust which their beloves doing with them.
    SALUTE TO YOU…, YOU ARE PRIDE OF PAKISTAN…!Recommend

  • Asif Iqbal
    Jun 24, 2011 - 1:25PM

    We are pround of you…. you are our star… keep it upRecommend

  • Rizwan
    Jun 27, 2011 - 6:55PM

    What a joke. I thought it was a real astronaut, something to be proud of. Turns out it’s just some rich woman paying for her ticket to space. Bummer.Recommend

  • James
    Jul 1, 2011 - 6:39AM

    She is not a Pakistani by nationality.. She holds an american passport!Recommend

  • Fiaz
    Jul 4, 2011 - 6:05AM

    Really great…….congratesRecommend

  • Miss Qadeer
    Jul 4, 2011 - 10:31AM

    No matter, what is the exact purpose of the travel (just a voyage or some specific mission assigned to complete), It is a way this lady paved for all Pakistani women to think that they are not less than others and I am sure with the passage of time they will definitely prove themselves to be part of specific space missions Insha Allah.

    Dear lady you have started the voyage, there would be a lot behind you to reach the destination with targeted missions of space.

    RegardsRecommend

  • Imtiaz
    Jul 8, 2011 - 11:09PM

    Astronaut!? gime a brek..
    she is just a space tourist. if I have money, I too wud go in space – but i cant be called an astronaut!!

    Recommend

  • Edwil Alberts
    Jul 9, 2011 - 8:56AM

    Hi All,

    Just for those that keeps on fighting on the meaning of the word “astronaut” as well as those that even use the same quote but still reading it wrong – here it is again from Wikipedia…

    “An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft. While generally reserved for professional space travelers, the term is sometimes applied to anyone who travels into space, including scientists, politicians, journalists, and tourists.

    Until 2002, astronauts were sponsored and trained exclusively by governments, either by the military, or by civilian space agencies. With the sub-orbital flight of the privately-funded SpaceShipOne in 2004, a new category of astronaut was created: the commercial ASTRONAUT.”

    For those that are jealous about this specially from countries apposing to where this young lady is from, please allow her the credit for what she wants to accomplish. Not all countries, nor all individuals will have the opportunity to be able to just get of this corrupted peace of rock that we call planet earth in the more traditional sense and not all of our governments have programs in place to supprt such activities. I have the very same dream and I personally do respect her as at least she is one step closer than accomplishing this than me. It is not about the word that describe the the act, but it is actually about the accomplishment…

    Recommend

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