Bezos to Take Former Female Astronaut Trainee, 82, to Space

Six decades after she went through training to become one of the first women in space, Wally Funk will finally get her chance to hit zero gravity.

That’s after Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos invited her as a guest on the first crewed flight of his rocket maker, Blue Origin. The trip on the company’s New Shepard spacecraft is scheduled for July 20.

“No one has waited longer,” Bezos said in an Instagram post Thursday. “It’s time. Welcome to the crew, Wally.”

Funk was a member of the Mercury 13 program, in which women trained for space flight, but she never left Earth. She has more than 19,600 flying hours as an aircraft pilot and has taught more than 3,000 people to fly, she said in a video accompanying the Instagram post.

Bezos to Take Former Female Astronaut Trainee, 82, to Space

At 82, Funk will be the oldest person to fly to space. She and the other crew members -- a group that includes Bezos and his brother -- comply with all of Blue Origin’s requirements for the mission, the company said.

Funk isn’t the mysterious winner of an auction for a seat on the rocket, Blue Origin said. The company has yet to reveal the identity of that person, who won with a bid of $28 million.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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