82 Year-Old Denied Female Astronaut Finds Redemption Aboard Jeff Bezos Space Flight
2nd July 2021

After six decades of dreaming about going to space, 82-year-old Wally Funk is finally getting her chance. The pilot has been chosen to take part in Blue Origin’s first human flight to space alongside Jeff Bezos.

The billionaire took to Instagram to announce the news. Bezos shared a video of himself alongside Funk in which he tells Funk she’s been chosen for the expedition. He also explains what the trip will be like. In the clip, the soon-to-be former Amazon CEO can be seen telling the aviator they plan to be in zero gravity for four minutes before descending back down to earth.

RELATED: Bernard Arnault Surpasses Jeff Bezos To Become World’s Wealthiest Person

“I didn’t think I’d ever get to go up,” Funk can be heard saying.

In the caption, Bezos explained that Funk was one of thirteen women who took part in the “Mercury 13” program in the 1960s, which aimed to send the first American woman to space. Ultimately, however, the program was cancelled before the participants had a chance to partake in an expedition. Bezos said he’s excited to make Funk’s dream a reality, referring to her as an “honored guest.”

According to BBC, Funk has completed 19,6000 flight hours throughout her career after getting her aviation license at age 20. She’s also taught an estimated 3,000 people how to fly.

A post shared by Jeff Bezos (@jeffbezos)

In addition to being an accomplished pilot, Funk is also known for being the first female Federal Aviation Agency inspector. She was also the first woman to become an air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board as well as a civil flight instructor at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Bezos announced his plans to go to space last month. The businessman will be making the trip on a rocket ship produced by Blue Origin, his privately funded aerospace manufacturer. The company, which was founded in 2,000, aims to make space travel cheaper and more eco-friendly with the development of reusable launch vehicles. While they have launched a variety of aircraft over the years, this will be the first to carry humans into space.

A post shared by Jeff Bezos (@jeffbezos)

In his Instagram announcement, Bezos said he’s been dreaming of going to space since he was 5-years old. Previously, while speaking to the Miami Herald in 1982, the then-18-year-old Bezos said he one day hopes to colonize planets and create infrastructure, like hotels and amusement parks. “The whole idea is to preserve the earth,” he said at the time, Washington Post reports.

The expedition is set to launch in a matter of weeks on July 20th. In addition to Funk, he’ll be joined by his younger brother, Mark Bezos. Funk will be the oldest person to travel to space. Currently, the record is held by John Glenn, who was 77-years old when he flew on the space shuttle Discovery in 1998, The Guardian reports.

NEXT: Is Richard Branson Planning A July 4th Space Surprise For Jeff Bezos?

Sources: BBC, Instagram @jeffbezos, Washington Post, The Guardian,

Source: Read Full Article