An 82-year-old pilot, Mary Wallace Funk who was prevented from becoming an astronaut in the 1960s because of her gender, will be accompanying join Jeff Bezos on his rocket ship company’s first human flight into space, the company announced this big news on Thursday.

About the project Space exploration and Wally’s addition to it

On 20 July, she will join Bezos; his brother, Mark Bezos; and the winner of an auction as the first people to fly in a Blue Origin rocket and capsule, the company said. The mission will be a short suborbital flight, with the rocket rising above the average 62-mile threshold generally regarded as the beginning of space, before returning to Earth.


Mary Wallace Funk | Image Credit: Sarah Cruddas

Passengers who will be on boarding the rocket, called New Shepard, will experience zero gravity for four minutes and then touch back down in the desert in West Texas, the site of the rocket’s launch.

Check out Jeff’s post relate to the space exploration project


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A post shared by Jeff Bezos (@jeffbezos)

Also Read: Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos will fly to space in July

Brief about Wally

The lady, who goes by name Wally, was one of 13 American women who went through a rigorous astronaut-training program in the 1960s to decide whether women were fit for space. Despite testing just as well as men at the time, none ever became astronauts.

The program was privately funded and was not recognized by NASA. More important, NASA was accepting only trained fighter-jet pilots, a job which was only open to men, as candidates to become astronauts at that time. It wasn’t until 1983, five years after the fighter-pilot requirement was lifted, that the United States sent its first woman pilot, Sally Ride, into space.


Wally Funk | Image Credit: Blue Origin

Jeff confirms the news

When the fact that Wally will be flying to space with Jeff and his brother to the space, Jeff expressed his reaction through an Instagram post, in which he said that-

“No one has waited longer. In 1961, Wally Funk was at the top of her class as part of the “Mercury 13” Woman in Space Program. Despite completing their training, the program was cancelled, and none of the thirteen flew.”

Check the post here


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A post shared by Jeff Bezos (@jeffbezos)

Also Read: Sirisha Bandla: the Second Indian-origin Woman to Fly to Space with Richard Branson

Wally shares how she was made to think that she was not capable to be in the space industry

According to the video which was posted on Bezos’s Instagram handle, Wally said that-

“They told me that I had done better and completed the work faster than any of the guys and each of the four times I told NASA that I wanted to become an astronaut, I was denied.”

Further adding she recalls that NASA said her that-

“Well, you’re a girl, you can’t do that, responding to it she said that, “Guess what? Doesn’t matter what you are, you can still do it if you want to do it.’ And I like to do things that nobody’s ever done.”

Also Read: Vandi Verma: Indian-origin NASA Engineer drives Perseverance Rover on Mars

Some facts about Wally

Funk was the first female Federal Aviation Administration inspector and first female National Transportation Safety Board air safety investigator. With the New Shepard flight later this month, she will set yet another record by becoming the oldest person to fly into space.

Blue origin is over-whelmed to have Wally on the board

The official twitter handle of Blue Origin showed immense pleasure to have Wally on the board to space and also shared when Jeff finally decided to take Wally with him, they tweeted that-

“Welcome aboard, Wally. Here’s the moment Jeff Bezos asked Wally Funk to join our first human flight on July 20 as our honoured guest.”

Check the tweet here