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04th Jul 2021

82-year-old female pilot Wally Funk will go to space with Jeff Bezos

82-year-old Wally Funk will suit up alongside Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for the 'New Shepherd' mission - and she has dreamt about it for her entire life

Kieran Galpin

She dreamt of space, now she gets to go!

The race to space is a battle between billionaires and those with enormous egos.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s ‘New Shepherd’ will shoot off into space on July 20th, accompanied by his brother and an undisclosed auction winner who splashed out a whopping $28 million on the seat – here’s to hoping the lucky winner is Beyonce.

But there is another guest on the flight.

82-year-old Wally Funk will also suit up for the mission, an ambition she has had for her entire life.

Funnily enough, Funk is actually the most qualified person on board, with a staggering 19,600 flight hours in her wheelhouse, and having taught over 3,000 people to fly.

In 1960, Funk was one of thirteen women who passed tests laid out by Doctor William Randolph Lovelace to see if women could pass the same medical tests as other astronauts. However, the ‘Mercury 13’ never went to space, and NASA did not send a woman up until more than a decade later.

Confined to earth, but not the crowd, Funk dedicated her life to aviation. She was the first female inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration and the first female air safety inspector for the National Transportation Safety Board.

Her inherent need to get into space pushed her to buy a ticket for Virgin’s Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, but that has yet to venture into space.

The look on Funk’s face is infectiously joyous.

Though she may not be the first woman to make it into space, she will be the oldest person ever to break through the Earth’s atmosphere. Astronaut John Glenn currently holds that title and, considering he once said that women shouldn’t be astronauts, he can kindly eat his words.