Jeff Bezos has selected Wally Funk, one of the early female pioneers in aerospace as an honored guest for its first spaceflight. The 82-year-old was denied the opportunity to wear the astronaut tag decades ago due to gender discrimination. However, she will soon be skyrocketing into space.
Who exactly is Wally Funk?
The 82-year-old is one of the Mercury 13 women who took up astronaut training in the 1960s. However, none of these women made it to space or were inducted into NASA’s astronaut corps due to their gender. Additionally, back in the 1960s, all astronauts were male and military test pilots. This flight is special for more than this reason. She will now be the oldest person to go to space. Until now, John Glenn was the oldest person to launch into space at the age of 77. Glenn flew aboard the Discovery shuttle in 1998.
She is a pilot and a former flight instructor with over 19,600 hours of flying experience and has taught over 3,500 people to fly. Funk was the first female air safety investigator at the National Transportation Safety Board. Additionally, she was also the first female instructor for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). She had set out to become America’s first female astronaut.
Wally Funk to fly aboard the Blue Origin space flight
The private space technology firm announced on Thursday that Funk will board the launch on July 20 as an honored guest. The flight will launch from West Texas for a 10-minute space hop. In addition to Funck, the flight will take the former Amazon CEO, his brother, and the winner of the charity auction. She will be one of the first few to fly on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.
“No one has waited longer, It’s time. Welcome to the crew, Wally. We’re excited to have you fly with us on July 20th as our honored guest,” said Jeff Bezos on Instagram. He also posted a video of conversing with the legend.
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