Amazon’s Jeff Bezos selected a female aerospace trailblazer, 82, to accompany him in his space travel scheduled July 20.
The aerospace company he founded himself, Blue Origin, is gearing to release the New Shepard into space, which will mark its first manned flight.
On Thursday, Bezos said he will be traveling to space with Mary Wallace (Wally) Funk.
“I’ve been flying forever, and I’ve got 19,600 flying hours,” the female pioneer said through a recorded video uploaded to Bezos’ Instagram account. “I’ve taught over 3,000 people to fly private, commercial, instrument, flight engineer, airline transport, lighting — everything that the [Federal Aviation Administration] has, I’ve got the license for.”
Bezos’ selected Funk who graduated as the youngest in her batch from the 1960 Women in Space Program, also called the “Mercury 13”. The program has aimed to subject female pilots for a trial in terms of “astronaut fitness”, assessing them with the similar process as their male counterparts, according to Blue Origin.
But the program was not pushed through and its women students were never launched for a space mission.
Apart from her participation in the said program, Funk also served as the first FAA inspector as well as the first female NTSB investigator for air safety.
With her mission with Bezos, she will also become the oldest person to go out in space.
“I could outrun you,” she said in the video, adding that Women in Space program officials once told her “had done better and completed the work faster than any of the [male astronauts].”
“I got a 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. Nothing has ever gotten in my way,” Funk, who finds joy in doing “things that nobody’s ever done,” continued, as reported by FOX Business.
“It’s time. Welcome to the crew, Wally,” Bezos, meanwhile captioned an Instagram post. “We’re excited to have you fly with us on July 20th as our honored guest.”