ISLAMABAD, Aug 17: A Pakistani woman said here on Thursday that she had been selected to join a US commercial space flight in 2008.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Minister of State for Information Tariq Azeem, Namira Salim said she had been selected by US firm Virgin Galactic for its first commercial space flight.

Ms Namira, at present based in south France, has made her mark on the international scene as an accomplished artist.

She said her strong resolve led her to become the first person from this region to enrol for a private space flight. “Today I look forward to realise my vision with Virgin Galactic which is the only company in the world with a safe and tested prototype of a private spacecraft,” she said.

Virgin Galactic selected Ms Namira for its exclusive Founders’ Club (first 100 people for the flight). As a founding member she will be the first Pakistani to join the mission when commercial operations commence in July 2008 and will participate in the advent of the new industry of space tourism.

Mr Azeem said that by becoming the first Pakistani woman to venture into space, Ms Namira would create a new direction for Pakistani women.

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