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Bezos’ Blue Origin To Carry 82YO Female Pilot, Oldest Person To Fly To Space
By Alexa Heah, 02 Jul 2021
Video screenshot via Jeff Bezos
One of the guests joining Jeff and Mark Bezos on board Blue Origin’s first crewed flight has been revealed to be Wally Funk, a pioneering female pilot who had dreams of being an astronaut in the 1960s.
Funk will become the oldest person to ever fly to space, and get to fulfill her lifelong dream, having previously been rejected due to her gender.
According to ABC News, Funk, now 82, was once the youngest graduate of the Women in Space Program – more commonly known as the Mercury 13 Program – during the Cold War era.
Female pilots went through the same physiological and psychological training regimens as their male counterparts, but never ended up flying to space.
“I didn’t think that I would ever get to go up,” Funk said. “They said, ‘Wally, you’re a girl, you can’t do that!’ I said, ‘Guess what, doesn’t matter what you are, you can still do it if you want to do it, and I like to do things that nobody has ever done.’”
Despite not being able to fly to space, Funk went on to become one of the most decorated female pilots in her own right.
She was the first female Federal Aviation Administration inspector, and later, the first female National Transportation Safety Board investigator. In total, Funk’s clocked in approximately 19,600 flying hours, and has taught more than 3,000 people to fly.
As of now, the crew onboard Blue Origin’s maiden flight includes founder Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, Funk, and an unnamed individual who won the seat for US$28 million in an auction last month.
The identity of the auction winner has yet to be revealed but will be announced in the coming weeks as the crew prepares to take off on July 20.
[via ABC News, cover image via Jeff Bezos]
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