Jeff Bezos has been in the news for quite some time now for his space flight. But there is a woman who accompanied him, Wally Funk. She was one of Jeff Bezos’ three co-passengers, and is also the oldest person to have reached space today.
Wally Funk was one of the Mercury 13 group of women trained to become NASA astronauts in the 1960s. And, let me tell you, that training was no cakewalk. But unfortunately, she never got to seize that opportunity because of her gender.
They told me that I had done better and completed the work faster than any of the guys, ….So I got hold 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.
Not only this, but she was the first female inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration and the first female air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board. The 82-year-old has taught around 3,000 people to fly.
The first American woman, Sally Ride, flew to space in 1983. And, the first American woman to pilot a spaceship did so in 1995. So you can imagine what a great moment it truly was for Wally Funk to be aboard the Blue Origin flight.
Here’s how the world is praising her.
Congratulations to Wally Funk (second from the left) on being selected to fly on @BlueOrigin‘s first crewed flight to space! She’ll fulfill her dream of spaceflight at the age of 82.— Women@NASA (@WomenNASA) July 1, 2021
Read her oral history: https://t.co/WdUsG8jES1 pic.twitter.com/xTd993DDiS
Them: “Wally, you’re a girl, you can’t do that.”— Canadian Forces in 🇺🇸 (@CAFinUS) July 20, 2021
Her: *never gives up*
Her: *flies to space at 82 years old*
Congratulations, Wally Funk! pic.twitter.com/XqYVXbbCc1
Godspeed Wally Funk and those other guys! https://t.co/bOj1blbYAx— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) July 20, 2021
Regardless of how you feel about tomorrow’s Blue Origin flight, can we just appreciate the fact that Wally Funk is going to space? 🚀✨ pic.twitter.com/JrwMRRBsXz— Jasmine 🌌🔭 (@astro_jaz) July 20, 2021
Today, Mercury 13 member Wally Funk at 82, will become the oldest person to go to space.— Emily Calandrelli (@TheSpaceGal) July 20, 2021
The previous record holder was John Glenn, who testified against the Mercury 13, arguing that women were not fit for spaceflight.
Here’s to astronaut Wally Funk 🚀 At 82, she became the oldest person to fly to space today. An aviation pioneer who has spent her life paving this path to space 🤩 happy #WallyFunk Day 💞 congratulations team @blueorigin 💫 pic.twitter.com/lKYwYbHq1v— Dr. Norah Patten 🚀 (@SpaceNorah) July 20, 2021
These are the kind of role models we need for young women everywhere.