With less than 24 hours to go until Namira Salim boards the Galactic 04, this ground-breaking adventurer and resident of the Principality shares her story with Monaco Life.
At 5pm local Monaco time on Friday 6th October, Namira Salim, a former Ambassador of Pakistan to the Principality of Monaco, will make history as the first person from either country to journey into space.
There has been a bit of a delay to Salim’s epic voyage – the window for the spaceflight was moved back by a day due to some “additional technical checks” – but the countdown is now well and truly on.
Training has been ramping up over the last few days, and when Monaco Life contacted the 48-year-old seasoned adventurer, she was heading out to “Spaceport America” to complete her last full day of training prior to the much-awaited launch.
Amongst her personal highlights from the lead-up was the acrobatic test flight with Commander Kelly Latimer, a former US Air Force combat pilot who will fly the VSS Unity spaceplane on the Galactic 04 voyage.
It was an “amazing” experience, says Salim, who was able to experience all the G profiles of her upcoming flight for the first time, and an “honour” to fly with Latimer ahead of their official expedition.
“Another part of day two training was that we experienced the full flight in a spaceship mock-up, from launch to boost to release to rocket motor ignition to zero-gravity to re-entry into the atmosphere to landing,” says Salim.
She also shared a photograph of herself in front of a recognisable landmark for aspiring astronauts with Monaco Life, explaining that she had enjoyed taking “a moment at the Genesis sculpture, which inspires spaceflight and connects the Earth with the sky”.
A “collector of firsts”
Salim describes herself as a “collector of firsts”, and it’s a fair self-assessment.
She was the first Pakistani and the first female resident of Monaco, where she has resided since being a teenager, to reach the North Pole in 2007 and then the South Pole in 2008, as well as becoming the first Asian, Pakistani and Monaco resident to skydive over Mount Everest in 2008 in the historic inaugural Everest Skydive.
But when questioned on her feelings ahead of this entirely next-level experience, Salim says, “I have done more dangerous adventures.”
She is clearly feeling confident ahead of this new chapter in her story, a challenge and a dream she has held since childhood, but also incredibly self-assured.
“I believe life and death is destined,” she tells Monaco Life. “There is a time for it and it can happen anywhere, anytime.”
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Photos supplied by Namira Salim