Pakistani space tourist comes back down to Earth.

WASHINGTON -- Virgin Galactic made history by launching the first Pakistani woman into space on Friday, taking Namira Salim to the final frontier alongside two other travellers.

This was Virgin's fourth commercial spaceflight. British advertising executive Trevor Beattie and American astronomy educator Ron Rosano were the two other passengers.

Galactic 04 set off from Spaceport America in New Mexico, at 1540 GMT (8:10pm Pakistan time) when Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity space plane lifted off beneath the wings of its carrier craft, known as Virgin Mothership (VMS) Eve.

Eve carried Unity high into the New Mexico skies, ultimately releasing the space plane at roughly 1624 GMT at an altitude of around 45,000 feet (13,700 metres). Unity then fired up its onboard rocket motor, powering its way to suborbital space.

'Release, release, release! Virgin Spaceship (VSS) Unity has successfully released from our mothership Virgin Mother Ship (VNS) Eve and ignited the rocket motor,' the company announced on its X account.

According to Virgin, the craft attained an apogee of 54.3 miles from the surface of the Earth, and hit a top speed of Mach 2.95 (nearly three times the speed of sound) during its short trip.

A photo released by the company showed passengers peering out the windows while floating around weightless.


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