Pilot Wally Funk wanted to become an astronaut in the early days of space flight. On July 20, 60 years later, he will finally enter space with Blue Origin.
Funk was one of 13 female pilots later nicknamed Mercury 13. She passed all the necessary tests to enter the NASA astronaut team in 1961 and lobbied the federal government to send women into space. NASA and Congress opposed it, banning women from becoming American astronauts for more than a decade; Sally Ride became the first American woman to fly into space in 1983.
But if everything goes according to plan, in just three weeks, Funk will exceed the gravity limit for four minutes. “I will love every second,” Fink said of his flight in a video posted by Blue Origin. “I can’t wait.”
Related: Jeff Bezos and passengers take Blue Origin’s first crew flight.
pilot Wally Funk announced in a video released that he participated in the first Blue Origin manned flight on July 20, 2021.
pilot Wally Funk announced in a video released that he participated in the first Blue Origin manned flight on July 20, 2021. (Image source: Blue Origin)
Funk was already a skilled pilot in 1961, and she never lost her love of flying. “I have been flying, with 19,600 hours of flying time,” Fink said in the video, citing his experience of teaching more than 3,000 people to fly. “Everything the Federal Aviation Administration [Federal Aviation Administration] owns, I have a license.”
In the video, she also recalled the disappointment that NASA felt when it kept women out of the astronaut crew in the first place , Although the 13 women of the First Lady Astronaut Intern (FLAT) scored high, Funk’s score was particularly good.
“They told me that I did better than anyone, and completed the work faster than anyone,” Fink said. “I didn’t expect it to rise.”
Related: Jerrie Cobb, an unprecedented female astronaut pilot and advocate, has died
A surviving member of the women’s group unofficially nicknamed Mercury 13 participated in Irene Collins in 1995 When the space shuttle was launched, she became the first female pilot of the spacecraft. Wally Funk is the second from left.
Surviving members of the women’s group informally nicknamed Mercury 13 participated in the space shuttle launch of Irene Collins in 995, when she became the first female pilot of the space shuttle. Wally Funk is the second from left. (Image source: NASA)
Even 60 years later, Fink will not reach orbit, although the 82-year-old will become the oldest person to visit space. Blue Origin’s New Shepard aircraft is a suborbital space capsule designed for short 11-minute flights over space constraints, during which passengers will experience approximately four minutes of weightlessness.
(Of course, this capsule was named after NASA astronaut Alan Shepard, who became the first American to enter space in May 1961, although he did not reach orbit until 1971, when he was still Walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 14 mission.)
An undated photo of pilot Wally Funk.
An undated photo of the pilot Wally Funk. (Image Source: Blue Origin)
Funk was blown up at the invitation of Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos. Jeff Bezos will also be a passenger on the flight, as well as his brother Mark and the June 28 million auction value, Asyetunname buyers for dollar seats.
“No one has waited longer,” Bezos wrote in an Instagram post on Thursday (July 1), announcing that he had joined their team. “It’s time. Welcome to the crew, Wally. We are so excited that you are flying with us as our VIP guest on July 20.”