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 FIRST PAKISTANI FEMALE SPACE TRAVELLER

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MAJOR(R)KHALID NASR
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PostSubject: FIRST PAKISTANI FEMALE SPACE TRAVELLER   Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:50 pm

First Pakistani female set to travel space in 2009
October 25th, 2007 by DhartiPakistan
Namira Salim is poised to become the first Pakistani astronaut, albeit as a space tourist in the world’s first commercial space liner in 2009. Salim, 35, made her name as a sculptor, musician, designer and poet before she was chosen in March 2006 by entrepreneur Richard Branson from among 44,000 candidates to be one of the first 100 space tourists for flights to be offered by his firm Virgin Galactic. She was trained in the STS-400 simulator, the world’s most advanced high performance centrifuge, under the supervision of Virgin Galactic after clearing medical tests. The training assessed Salim’s ability to tolerate and adapt to gravitational forces and motion sickness during a sub-orbital spaceflight.


“I am very happy. These are unforgettable moments,” Namira said. “I am not only proud to be the first Pakistani, but particularly proud to be the first female from Pakistan to have had such a phenomenal experience.” Salim has said that she hoped her achievement would break “new ground for Muslim and Pakistani women” to enter fields that were hitherto closed to them. She has encouraged others, particularly women, to open their minds to the vast potential and opportunities the world offers and excel in all spheres of lives. “It was an unforgettable experience and makes one very excited for the actual space flight now that I know that I am qualified to fly to sub-orbital space,” she said. Women in Pakistan, especially in rural and tribal areas, are victims of discrimination and violence. Pakistan’s former tourism minister Nilofar Bakhtiar had to resign in May after hardline clerics accused her of obscenity for hugging an instructor after making a charity parachute jump in France. She was also sacked as head of the women’s wing of the ruling PML-Q party. “There is no limit to positive accomplishment and if one heads in that direction, one would only conquer the stars,” Salim said. Salim was born in the port city of Karachi but now lives in Dubai and France. Her father hails from Punjab while her mother was born in Allahabad and brought up in Delhi.

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