Wally Funk, the 82-Year-Old Woman Joining Jeff Bezos in Space

For a long time, Wally Funk has dreamed of going into space. This month, the 82-year-old pilot and flight instructor will have the opportunity to visit there. She has said, “I like to do things that nobody has ever done.” We are going to take a look at her extraordinary life.

Wally Funk’s accomplishments in aviation are extraordinary: She was the first female inspector at the Federal Aviation Administration and the first woman investigator at the National Transportation Safety Board. In Bezos’s Instagram video, she said that she has logged 19,600 hours of flight time and taught more than 3,000 people how to fly.

Who Is Wally Funk?

Growing up, Funk built model planes and ships and was interested in mechanics. Wally became an expert marksman at the age of 14, receiving the Distinguished Rifleman’s Award. Her performances in U.S. competitions include Slalom, Downhill, and Top Female Skier for the Southwest United States.

When she was 16, she entered Stephen’s College in Columbia, Missouri. With an Associate of Arts degree, Wally Funk graduated in 1958, rated first in her class of 24 students. Her aviation work was recognized as the college’s youngest Alumna Achievement Award recipient in 1964.

Her academic achievements include a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, the Commercial Pilot Certificate, Multi-Engine Pilot Certificate, Single-Engine Pilot Certificate, Instrument Pilot Certificate, Flight Instructor Certificate and all Ground Instructor Certificates from Oklahoma State University.

Wally participated in the International Collegiate Air Meet for the Flying Aggies while attending OSU. She received the FFA Top Pilot award two years in succession, the Alfred Alder Memorial Trophy, and the Outstanding Female Pilot award.

What Is Wally Funk Known For?

Since 1957, Wally Funk has accumulated more than 19,600 hours of flight experience. When the space race was at its peak, Funk was one of the Mercury 13 women privately tested and trained by aviation medical experts for NASA’s astronaut program. Despite the cancellation, the women went through the same rigorous testing as Mercury 7, NASA’s original all-male team.

The 82-year-old Funk has become the oldest human to reach space 60 years later. As part of an auction for Blue Origin’s first crewed mission, which takes place on the anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s moon landing in 1969, Bezos announced that Funk will be joining him, Mark, and an unnamed winner.

How Old Is Wally Funk?

Wally Funk was born on February 1, 1939.  She held a commercial pilot’s license at the age of 18. She was a flight instructor at 29 years old, had ferried dozens of surplus aircraft to Europe and South America, had logged over 10,000 hours of flying, and had broken three flying records. In 1976, when NASA opened its programs to women, Funk applied three times and received three rejections. Despite that, she has never let anything get in the way of her goals.

With Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, she will join the Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket on July 20. Upon reaching space, she is expected to top John Glenn’s record.

Bezos Tweet

Sarah Cruddas, the space journalist and author, has tweeted:

July 20, 2021, the world will be watching Wally travel to space.

“It’s time. Welcome to the crew, Wally. We’re excited to have you fly with us on July 20 as our honored guest.” Jeff Bezos

E-commerce pioneer, Jeff Bezos, founder of the space exploration company Blue Origin, has announced he will be on the first crewed spaceflight of Blue Origin. In an Instagram post, Bezos has said:

In 1961, Wally Funk was at the top of her class as part of the “Mercury 13” Woman in Space Program. Despite completing their training, the program was cancelled, and none of the thirteen flew.

Funk is Bezos’s ” honored guest” on the flight, which includes the winner of the Blue Origin auction that benefits the company’s nonprofit foundation. One hundred fifty-nine countries took part in the $28 million auctions, which attracted nearly 7,600 bidders worldwide.

the video is about Funk’s lifelong aviation career and how the opportunity to go to space would be “the greatest thing imaginable” for her. As well as Bezos describing what the flight will be like, he also describes the four minutes they’ll experience when the crew capsule separates from the first stage.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jeff Bezos (@jeffbezos)

“We open the hatch, and you step outside. What’s the first thing you say?” Bezos asks Funk. Her answer is:

“I will say, ‘Honey, that’s the best thing that ever happened to me!”

And finally, the four Blue Origin astronauts, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and aviation legend Wally Funk experienced zero gravity during the company’s first crewed spaceflight. Watch Jeff Bezos and Wally Funk in zero gravity during Blue Origin spaceflight.

Source washingtonpost npr
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Shiny
Shiny
4 months ago

What an incredible experience! i was waiting for this moment for sooooo long.

Maggie Robins
Maggie Robins
4 months ago

Such an impressive woman! She most certainly deserves fulfilling her life dream. 

Ts. Julian
Ts. Julian
4 months ago

I just watched the video of Wally funk in zero gravity; it was so amazing, not only the fact that technology can make the unimaginable possible but the fact that it makes dreams come true. I’m so happy and proud.

David
David
4 months ago

Wow, this was very inspiring. I am 65, and sometimes I feel like it’s too late to do anything, and then here’s this woman who is on top of the world at 82. What a legend!

Karen
Karen
3 months ago

What an impressive story. I don’t know her, but I’m very proud of her for being so brave and inspiring. She’s an unstoppable queen.

Tania
Tania
3 months ago

Such an amazing woman and adventure. She can be an inspiring person for all girls.

Mateo
Mateo
3 months ago

That was an inspiring, unique story! I really enjoyed it when I was read this magnificent article. When I was a child, I loved space as many children. But I think just a few people have a chance to gain to their dreams. Also, most of us never try enough to become successful people. So I advise young guys to try and boost their motivations.