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"Proud" Pakistani woman all set to raise national flag in space

01:01 AM | 7 Oct, 2023
Namira Salim

Namira Salim is geared up to become the first Pakistani to reach the final frontier as embarks on a Virgin Galactic space plane. Salim also shared how she feels “proud” to raise the national flag in space – a remarkable achievement for the country and especially its women. 

“Proud to fly the national flag high in space Insha’Allah on October 6,” Salim shared on social media ahead of her departure alongside three other space travelers: British advertising executive Trevor Beattie and Ameri¬can astronomy educator Ron Rosano. 

Alongside the trio will be Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor.

Previously, Virgin Galactic delayed its next space tourism mission by a day “to complete vehicle prep and checks.”

“The slip will give our team an additional day to complete vehicle prep and checks,” they wrote on their platform X account. “We look forward to taking to the skies (on Friday)!”

The mission, called Galactic 04, will allow three paying customers to be sent into suborbital space and back on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity space plane. They will also witness several minutes of weightlessness and be able to see the curvature of Earth against the backdrop of outer space.

Unity will lift off beneath the wings of its carrier plane, Virgin Mothership (VMS) Eve, from New Mexico’s Spaceport America. 

But Salim isn’t the only Pakistani on this galactic venture, VMS Eve is also piloted by a Canadian of Pakistani origin, Jameel Janjua. Janjua completed over 4,000 flying hours in 45+ different vehicles before joining Virgin Galactic.

Kelly Latimer and C.J. Sturckow will fly the space plane while Nicola Pecile will join Mr Janjua to pilot Eve. Both vehicles will land back at Spaceport America after completing the mission.

In a tweet posted on her official X -- formerly known as Twitter -- account, Salim expressed gratitude for Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar congratulating her for being the first woman from Pakistan to go to space.

“By proving their mettle as trailblazers in multiple fields, Pakistani women are making the whole nation proud,” Mr Kakar stated on X account.

Salim was one of the first 100 people to buy a ticket with Virgin Galactic, in 2006 priced at $200,000 back then. The ticket now costs $450,000.

Salim is the founder and chairperson of the nonprofit Space Trust. According to her website, she’s the first Pakistani to visit both the North Pole (in April 2007) and the South Pole (in January 2008).

The writer is a staff member.

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PKR exchange rate to US dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 21 Feb 2024

Pakistani currency remains stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 21, 2024 (Wednesday).

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.6 for buying and 282.4 for selling.

Euro comes down to 300 for buying and 303 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 350.5 for buying, and 354 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.15 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.35.

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 21 Feb 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 279.6 282.4
Euro EUR 300 303
UK Pound Sterling GBP 350.5 354
U.A.E Dirham AED 76.15 76.9
Saudi Riyal SAR 74.35 75.1
Australian Dollar AUD 181 183
Bahrain Dinar BHD 743.32 751.32
Canadian Dollar CAD 207 209
China Yuan CNY 38.89 39.29
Danish Krone DKK 40.38 40.78
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.74 36.09
Indian Rupee INR 3.37 3.48
Japanese Yen JPY 2.10 2.18
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 902.41 911.41
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.6 59.2
New Zealand Dollar NZD 171.68 173.68
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.43 26.73
Omani Riyal OMR 725.96 733.96
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.76 77.46
Singapore Dollar SGD 207 209
Swedish Korona SEK 26.53 26.83
Swiss Franc CHF 316.9 319.4
Thai Bhat THB 7.93 8.08

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