Wally Funk, the oldest aviator who flew into space after waiting for half a century, achieved her dream to fly into space on Tuesday with Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, Mark Bezos, and Oliver Daeman, a Blue Origin paying customer.
The 82-year-old aviator was trained to become an astronaut in the 1960s under the program Mercury 13. This consisted of a crew of women who were part of NASA’s program called “Women in Space.”
Then twenty-three-year-old Funk finished the rigorous astronaut training with flying colors. After that, however, she and her female colleagues were never allowed to travel into space because of their sex.
Despite this obstacle, Funk continued with her passion and trained more than 3,000 people how to fly.
Support from Funk’s Church
In Southlake, members of White’s Chapel Church honored the event by watching the launch live in their auditorium.
Laurie Williams reiterated that Funk “is a living testimony that you can do anything you set your mind to.” She is the director of the seniors’ ministry, where Funk goes to church.
“I cried ugly tears whenever I found out that she’s getting this opportunity,” Williams said.
“Beyond just being a national, international hero to so many and to females, for her to have her dreams realized — for her to know that God sees her and sees her dreams and is making it happen — I cannot wait.”
Details of the Historic Flight
Funk boarded the rocket and capsule with Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin founder, on his momentous flight to the brim of space.
At 9:11 A.M. EST, the crew launched the New Shepard rocket. The rocket, after liftoff, traveled toward space at thrice the speed of sound. The site’s location is in El Paso, in the west Texas desert southeast of it.
The four passengers reached the brim of space when the capsule separated at the height of 250,000 feet. The total travel time was around 10 minutes, with the craft landing in the Texas desert guided by parachutes.
This historic trip had numerous milestones. These include having crew members who are civilian in the first suborbital flight that remains unpiloted, Daemen, 18, the youngest person to travel into space, and Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket to be the first crewed launch.
Furthermore, Funk marked a milestone as the oldest astronaut, beating John Glenn by five years.
Funk’s Review of the Flight
Funk was elated with her experience of the flight despite not being high enough. She reiterated that “I saw darkness, I thought I was going to see the world, but we weren’t quite high enough. And I felt great. I felt like I was just lying down, just lying down — and I was going into space.”
She was grateful to Bezos for making her lifelong dream of flying into space come true.