An 82-Year-Old Woman, Who Trained as an Astronaut in Her Youth, Will Travel to Space With Jeff Bezos

Wally Funk, a woman who trained for NASA’s “Mercury 13” program in the 1960s, is the Blue Origin guest of honor.

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Wally Funk, a woman who trained for NASA’s “Mercury 13” program in the 1960s, is Jeff Bezos’ guest for the trip to be made by his aerospace company, Blue Origin, on July 20.

The 82-year-old Funk was trained as an astronaut in 1961 in a class known as the “Women in Space Program,” which was privately funded with the goal of including women on NASA expeditions.

However, after the group of 13 women finished their training, they were not selected to travel to space because they were women. “They told me I had done better and completed the job faster than any of the guys,” Funk explains in the promotional video for Blue Origin.

Related: Blue Origin Will Auction a Ticket for Its Tourist Trip to Space

Funk has extensive experience flying airplanes, accumulating 19,600 flight hours, worked as a flight instructor and later became the first investigator for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

A pending dream

In 2010, the pilot spent $200,000 on a ticket to board Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. Virgin Galactic is Richard Branson’s aerospace company and is also in the race for commercial space flights. However, Funk has not yet been able to use it as the company is still running tests.

In the video posted on Instagram, Bezos announces that Funk will be his guest of honor, and she reacts excitedly. Although the pilot will not have to perform any aerospace maneuvers on this flight, she will finally fulfill her dream of going into space.

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