The eighty-two-year-old woman, Wally Funk, travels with Jeff Bezos in space on July 20 on the flight of his company Blue Origin (July Origin), thus becoming the oldest person in space to date, the company has announced today.
She will be the fourth passenger on the first flight with the passengers of the space agency, alongside billionaire Bezos, his brother Marko Bezos and the winner of the auction for the remaining place whose name has not yet been announced.
Voli Funk was a pilot and flight instructor, but due to her gender she could not become an astronaut.
The company announced today that it will get a spot in the capsule on a ten-minute flight as a ‘guest of honor’.
Those four will be the first people to fly a New Shepherd rocket.
Funk is one of the 13 women who were trained as astronauts in the 1960s, but never flew into space, nor were they part of the NASA astronauts team because they are women. At the time, all NASA astronauts were military test pilots and men.
At 82, Funk will be the oldest person to fly into space and break the record of the late John Glenn, who flew the Discovery shuttle in 1998 at the age of 77.
“Nobody waited any longer. The time has come. Welcome to the Voli crew. We are excited that you will be flying with us as our guest of honor on July 20, ”Bezos wrote on Instagram.
Funk, a pilot and former flight instructor, was the first female inspector of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the first aviation safety investigator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.