Even as a young woman, she wanted to fly into space. Now Wally Funk got the offer she had been waiting for so long. Amazon founder and space enthusiast Jeff Bezos wants to take her on his flight.
Wally Funk has dreamed of going into space since the 1960s. At 21, she was the youngest graduate of the Woman in Space Program, a 1961 privately funded project that tested female pilots for astronaut fitness, later known as ‘Mercury 13’.
Thirteen American women successfully passed the same physiological and psychological screening tests as the male astronauts selected by NASA for Project Mercury. However, they never flew into space. ‘They told me I was better and did the job faster than all the other guys,’ Funk recalls.
Wally Funk loves flying and space
Now, 60 years later, Funk’s dream of space is coming true. Jeff Bezos, founder of the trading giant Amazon and the private space company Blue Origin, asked the 82-year-old whether she would like to be the guest of honor on the first human flight of the ‘New Shepard’ on July 20th. She will accompany Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos and the auction winner on the flight, the company announced on Thursday.
Bezos shows the captured moment in an Instagram video. ‘You are in weightlessness for four minutes. You’re coming back down We land gently on the desert floor. We open the hatch and you step out. What’s the first thing you say? ‘He asks Funk. She stretches out her arms and replies: ‘I would say:’ Honey, this is the best thing that has ever happened to me! ‘And hugs Bezos.
‘I’ve always been flying and I have 19,600 hours of flight time,’ says Funk, who has taught more than 3,000 people to fly. She was the first female Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector and the first female NTSB aviation safety investigator.
‘You can still do it if you want to!’
She went to NASA four times and asked to become an astronaut. But they weren’t taken. ‘I thought I would never fly up,’ said Wally Funk. ‘Nothing ever got in my way. They said, ‘Wally, you are a woman, you can’t do this!’. I said, ‘Introduce yourself! It doesn’t matter who you are. You can still do it if you want to! ”
Blue Origin was founded by Bezos in 2000. Initially, the focus was on performing suborbital flights. The ‘New Shepard’ is a fully reusable launcher from Blue Origin. The first successful landing took place in November 2015. The first manned flight into space is scheduled to take place on July 20.
Those: Blue Origin