Meet Wally Funk, the 82-Year-Old Aviator Joining Jeff Bezos in Space

Sixty-two a long time ago, NASA’s Mercury Challenge selected the very first group of American astronauts. Among that group of 7 adult men were names these as Alan Shepard and John Glenn. The Mercury Seven, as they came to be recognized, all went into space. All-around the identical time, a non-public method was placing ladies pilots as a result of some of the identical screening and training the adult men were going through for NASA. This group of ladies were recognized as the Mercury 13, but none of them went into space. But, thanks to Jeff Bezos and the billionaire space race, that is about to change: 82-calendar year old Wally Funk is eventually acquiring her working day in the sun—so to converse.


In a online video post on his Instagram account, Bezos instructed Funk, an original member of the Mercury 13, that she’ll be accompanying him on the very first flight of the New Shepard capsule on July 20. Bezos questioned her what she’d say after a harmless return to Earth.

“I would say, ‘Honey, that was the ideal matter that at any time transpired to me,’ ” Funk stated, hugging Bezos.

House record will be produced

Funk will come to be the oldest person to go into space, surpassing John Glenn who, at seventy seven, produced a return to space on the space shuttle Discovery in 1998. The suborbital New Shepard, designed by Bezos’ space business Blue Origin, will just take off from Texas for an 11-minute journey. After start, the reusable rocket will land though the removable crew capsule will parachute to the ground. Also along for this very first trip with Funk and Bezos will be the billionaire’s brother, Mark, and the as-nevertheless-unfamiliar winner of a $28 million auction.

Funk recalled what it was like to be a part of the Mercury 13 in 1961. “They questioned me, ‘Do you want to be an astronaut?’ and I stated, ‘Yes!’ ”

But though the Mercury 13 examined as very well, or better, than the adult men in lots of tests, NASA didn’t have curiosity in sending ladies to space at the time. “I didn’t imagine I’d at any time be equipped to go up.”

Funk is a pioneer in aviation. She was the very first female Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) inspector and the very first female air security investigator for the Nationwide Transportation Security Board (NTSB). “I’ve been traveling endlessly. I have 19,600 traveling several hours,” Funk stated.

The billionaire space race is heating up

Apparently, Bezos will not be the following billionaire heading to space. Hours after Funk’s flight announcement, Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson went on Twitter to announce he’s also heading to space. The British billionaire plans to be on board a take a look at flight of his company’s rocket aircraft on July 11. Virgin Galactic plans to begin giving business space flights in 2022, though Elon Musk’s SpaceX is starting up non-public flights in September. Blue Origin says details on New Shepard seat sales will be available before long. Ironically, Funk paid $two hundred,000 for a Virgin Galactic ticket in 2010. There’s no word on regardless of whether she’s seemed into Virgin Galactic’s refund plan.

At the stop of the Bezos Instagram post, Funk was instructed she’s heading to be an astronaut. After sixty a long time of waiting around, she only experienced a a single-word reply.


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