Wally Funk (82) became the oldest person to travel into space this morning. She joined Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, who became the youngest person to travel into space, aboard Bezos’ Blue Origin Space Capsule.
Not only had Wally Funk waited the longest to travel to space, she was also the most prepared of the four. Funk is one of a handful of women who participated in training and testing in the 1960’s developed by NASA to evaluate potential astronauts. She later went on to become the first female civilian flight instructor at a US Military Base, the first female inspector for the FAA, and the first female air safety investigator for the NTSB. She has logged close to 19,000 flight hours.
Of her lifelong dream of becoming an astronaut, Fund stated:
“I got ahold of NASA four times, and said ‘I want to become an astronaut,’ but nobody would take me. I didn’t think I would ever get to go up. They say, ‘Wally, you’re a girl, you can’t do that.’ I said ‘Guess what, it 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’s ever done before.”
Funk paid $200,000 in 2010 to reserve a ticket for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic program, which achieved it’s first spaceflight earlier this month, but it was on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin that she finally achieved her dream of becoming an Astronaut.
Photo Credit: BLUE ORIGIN/AFP