Namira Salim, the first Pakistani to reach the North and South Pole, will soon become the first Pakistani to travel into space as well.
Talking to the Orlando Sentinel at the Apollo 11 mission’s 50th anniversary, she said that she is inspired to do more. “So first of all, I think I should go as far as possible on Earth before I break the orbit,” she says.
44-year-old Salim has a $200,000 ticket for the suborbital flight of Virgin Galactic, a British spaceflight company. She is one of the founding members of famous billionaire Richard Branson’s space tourism company.
Salim was one of tens of thousands of individuals who applied to travel to outer space and got selected after a year of negotiations. She launched a non-profit, Space Trust, in 2015 with an aim to promote peace through space travel.
The trust established the 0G Summit to promote international cooperation in space. Presently, it is working to set up the first peace summit in orbit by 2030.
Salim is finally heading to space, as Virgin has sent its first passengers (its staff members) on test flights to space this year via its SpaceShipTwo from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.
She has done Bachelors in international business from Hofstra University and has a Masters degree in international affairs from Columbia University.
After completing her education, she returned to Pakistan and became the founding president of the country’s first International Association of Students in Economics and Business Management, a cultural exchange program working with the United Nations.
She moved to Monaco in 1997 and worked to improve diplomatic relations between the two nations. She also became the first Honorary Consul of Pakistan to the Principality of Monaco in 2011.
Salim is also an artist and her sculptural art pieces revolve around the theme of peace. Her jewelry line is also in the offing, which will be based on the constellations.
In the past 13 years, she has worked to promote space tourism and privatization of space in collaboration with Virgin.