Namira Salim, the first Pakistani astronaut to go to space aboard Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, congratulated India and the ISRO on its historic attempt to make a lunar landing. "I congratulate India and Isro on its historic attempt to make a soft landing of the Vikram lander at the South Pole of the Moon," Namira Salim said.
ISRO's plan to soft land Chandrayaan-2's Vikram module on the Lunar surface did not go as per script in the early hours of Saturday, with the lander losing communication with ground stations during its final descent.
The "terrifying 15 minute" complex landing process, which commenced with a lot of expectation, tinged with a sense of jubiliation was going on well till the successful rough braking phase which was marked by rounds of applause.
When the top ISRO scientists including its chief Sivan looked glum soon after the subsequent fine braking phase commenced, it was the first indication that all was not well.
"The Chandaryaan-2 lunar mission is indeed a giant leap for South Asia which not only makes the region, but the entire global space industry proud," Salim added.
"Regional developments in the space sector in South Asia are remarkable and no matter which nation leads - in space, all political boundaries dissolve and in space - what unites us overrides what divides us on Earth," Namira Salim said.
Who is Namira Salim?