Wally Funk, 82, with over 19,600 flight hours under her belt will soon become the oldest person ever to go to space where she joins Amazon’s Jeff Bezos on the first crewed space flight for his company Blue Origin.
This is a 60 years old dream in making for Funk as back in 1961 Funk along with twelve other women was a part of voluntary progra in the hope of becoming an astronaut. All the 13 volunteers collectively were known as mercury 13.
The Mercury-13 program was an unofficial and privately funded program where women were put through the same tests as males in N.A.S.A, however the plan to launch these women in space was abruptly cancelled putting a hold to the dreams of Funk.
She recalls her time in a video posted on Bezos’s Instagram saying. “They told me I had done better and completed the work faster than any other man.”
The flight will take place on July 20th, where she will board the New Shepherd Launch Vehicle. This will be the first crewed flight of the Blue Origin. She will be joined by Bezos, his brother Mark and an unnamed traveller who won the seat at an auction for $28 million.
“No one has waited longer,” Bezos wrote in an Instagram post on Thursday (July 1) announcing the addition to his crew. “It’s time. Welcome to the crew, Wally. We’re excited to have you fly with us on July 20th as our honored guest.”