Sixty-2 years back, NASA’s Mercury Project picked the initial team of American astronauts. Among that team of 7 guys were names such as Alan Shepard and also John Glenn. The Mercury Seven, as they became recognized, all entered into room. Around the exact same time, an exclusive program was placing females pilots via several of the exact same screening and also training the guys were going through for NASA. This team of females were called the Mercury 13, however none entered into room. But, many thanks to Jeff Bezos and also the billionaire room race, that’s about to transform: 82-year old Wally Funk is ultimately obtaining her day in the sunlight—in a manner of speaking.


In a video post on his Instagram account, Bezos informed Funk, an initial participant of the Mercury 13, that she’ll be accompanying him on the initial trip of the New Shepard pill on July 20. Bezos asked her what she’d claim after a risk-free go back to Earth.

“I would say, ‘Honey, that was the best thing that ever happened to me,’ ” Funk stated, embracing Bezos.

Space background will certainly be made

Funk will certainly end up being the earliest individual to enter into room, surpassing John Glenn that, at 77, made a return to room on the space capsule Discovery in 1998. The suborbital New Shepard, created by Bezos’ room firm Blue Origin, will certainly remove from Texas for an 11-minute trip. After launch, the multiple-use rocket will certainly land while the removable team pill will certainly parachute to the ground. Also along for this initial flight with Funk and also Bezos will certainly be the billionaire’s sibling, Mark, and also the as-yet-unknown champion of a $28 million public auction.

Funk remembered what it resembled to sign up with the Mercury 13 in 1961. “They asked me, ‘Do you want to be an astronaut?’ and I said, ‘Yes!’ ”

But while the Mercury 13 examined also, or far better, than the guys in lots of examinations, NASA didn’t have rate of interest in sending out females to room at the time. “I didn’t think I’d ever be able to go up.”

Funk is a leader in aeronautics. She was the initial lady Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) examiner and also the initial women air security private investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). “I’ve been flying forever. I have 19,600 flying hours,” Funk stated.

The billionaire room race is warming up

Interestingly, Bezos won’t be the following billionaire mosting likely to room. Hours after Funk’s trip news, Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson took place Twitter to reveal he’s likewise mosting likely to room. The British billionaire intends to be aboard an examination trip of his firm’s rocket airplane on July 11. Virgin Galactic intends to begin providing industrial room trips in 2022, while Elon Musk’s SpaceX is beginning exclusive trips in September. Blue Origin states information on New Shepard seat sales will certainly be readily available quickly. Ironically, Funk paid $200,000 for a Virgin Galactic ticket in 2010. There’s no word on whether she’s considered Virgin Galactic’s reimbursement plan.

At completion of the Bezos Instagram message, Funk was informed she’s mosting likely to be an astronaut. After 60 years of waiting, she just had a one-word reply.


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