American flight instructor Wally Funk will make one of her biggest dreams come true, by traveling with Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, to space on July 20. The pilot, who was rejected by the NASA astronaut program in the 1960s, thus achieves one of its greatest goals.
Who is Wally Funk?
Wally Funk has risen to fame in recent days for being one of Jeff Bezos’s companions to space. What is most striking is that it is an 82-year-old woman, although age is only a number, since she is in perfect physical and health condition. This, added to her great preparation, makes her a companion that anyone traveling to space would like to have by their side.
Funk has an impressive resume, starting with being the first aviation safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board and the first civilian instructor at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Another notable accomplishment of Funk is being the first inspector of the Federal Aviation Agency.
Despite her impressive credentials, she was never accepted for space travel, even passing the various training tests with outstanding marks. However, in 2021 it was announced that she will be one of the four crew members who will travel to space with Bezos and his brother, thus becoming the oldest person to have made this trip, surpassing John Glenn, who traveled when he was 77 years old.
A dream come true
This impressive journey will take place aboard the New Shepard ship. The crew members are Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, Wally Funk and a fourth person, whose identity has yet to be revealed. As a curious fact, this last passenger won the auction (23.5 million euros) launched by Blue Origin. The money from this auction will go to the Club for the Future, a Blue Origin foundation whose objective is to promote the study of scientific careers and the exploration of space among the youngest.
On July 20 these four passengers will embark on an unforgettable journey. The rocket, 18 meters high and 4 meters wide, can take off and land vertically. The flights are scheduled to take the crew on a very simple path of ascent and descent to 100 kilometers above sea level.
Despite being a short flight, the four passengers will reach the well-known Kármán line, where they will be able to experience microgravity for an approximate time interval of three minutes. They will also be able to observe the curve of the Earth. It should be noted that only 569 people have traveled beyond this line, considered unanimously and by international agreement as the space border.