Who is Wally Funk, and where did he come from? On Blue Origin’s first flight, Jeff Bezos greets a trailblazing pilot.
WALLY FUNK will be the honorary guest of Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin on their maiden flight into space. What is Wally Funk’s background, and why was she chosen for the flight?
Blue Origins will sail to space for the first time this month, with the company’s first crewed voyage scheduled for July 20. Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man and Amazon CEO, will be joined by a number of special guests as they launch onboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. The millionaire will be accompanied by his brother Mark, a mystery auction winner who spent £20 million ($28 million) for the honor, and Wally Funk, the guest-of-honour.
Mr. Bezos revealed the good news to Ms Funk in a heartfelt video posted to his Instagram account earlier this week.
“We’re going to fly you into space on the very first flight,” the billionaire assures the 82-year-old woman.
With a laugh and large smiles on their cheeks, the two hug it out spontaneously.
Ms Funk then says to the camera, “I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am to have been chosen by Blue Origin to go on this journey.” And I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.”
Jeff Bezos (@jeffbezos) shared a post.
Mary Wallace “Wally” Funk is a pioneering aviator and former air safety investigator who had a chance to be one of the first women to fly into space for a limited period of time.
While NASA was busy preparing America’s first class of seven astronauts, the so-called Mercury 7, in the 1950s and 1960s, a private company was working on training America’s first female astronauts.
The Mercury 13 were a group of 13 women who underwent the same rigorous testing as the Mercury 7 and, in many situations, appeared to exceed their male counterparts.
Unfortunately, patriarchal attitudes at the time meant that women were thought unsuited to be astronauts.
The Mercury 13 were denied entry into NASA’s program despite their best efforts and a congressional committee hearing in 1962.
Women did not join NASA’s Astronaut Group 8 until 1978, when Sally Ride became the first American woman in space.
Meanwhile, Russian engineer Valentina Tereshkova, who became a cosmonaut on the Vostok 6 mission in 1963, was the first female astronaut.
After she’s had her say. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”