| 21 May 2024, Tuesday |

Woman pilot Wally Funk, 82, to accompany Bezos in space

Aviator Wally Funk, 82, will accompany Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on the first crewed spaceflight of Blue Origin this month.Funk was the first woman trained to fly to space from 1960-1961 in the Mercury 13 program. On July 20, Funk will become the first oldest person ever to go to space.

“I would say, “Honey, that was the best thing that ever happened to me!” Funk said in the video as she hugged Bezos.

“They told me that I had done better and completed the work faster than any of the guys,” Funk says, adding, “So I got ahold of NASA, four times. I said I want to become an astronaut, but nobody would take me. I didn’t think that I would ever get to go up.”

Funk said people told her “Wally, 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.”

An unnamed winner of the online auction will be accompanying Bezos and Funk as they undertake their journey into space in the New Shepard. The spacecraft has taken several uncrewed test runs earlier.

Blue Origin’s latest voyage into space comes as it faces stiff competition from Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Virgin Galactic’s founder British billionaire Richard Branson.