TEXAS:Wally Funk is among the women who underwent astronaut training in the 1960s but never made it to space because they were female.
Jeff Bezos has chosen the 82-year-old pilot who denied astronaut wings decades ago because of her gender to rocket into space with him in just three weeks.
His company Blue Origin announced on Thursday that Wally Funk will be aboard the July 20 launch from West Texas, flying in the capsule for the 10-minute hop as an “honoured guest.” She’ll join Bezos, his brother and the winner of a charity auction, as the first people to ride a New Shepard rocket, named for Mercury 7 astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space.
Funk is among the so-called Mercury 13 women who went through astronaut training in the 1960s, but never made it to space — or even Nasa’s astronaut corps — because they were female.
Recalling her past she said,“Nothing has ever gotten in my way,”. “They said, ‘Well, 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.”
At age 82, Funk will become the oldest person to launch into space. She’ll beat the late John Glenn, who set a record at age 77 when flying aboard space shuttle Discovery in 1998.
Funk, a pilot who lives in Texas, was the first female inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration and the first female air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board. In the posted video, she said she has 19,600 flying hours and has taught more than 3,000 people to fly.