If things were to go according to the plan, in a few days from now, American aviator Wally Funk will be accompanying Jeff Bezos on his spaceflight. The 82-year-old has led quite an adventurous life and chose to do it by herself, without a husband or a partner. And, there is a reason behind it.
Reportedly, Jeff Bezos rocket created by his company Blue Origin is set to blast into space on July 20. Joining him will be Wally and another lucky person who will be finalized through an auction. And for Wally, who lost her chance to explore space, the dream is finally coming true.
The flight instructor is “married to airplanes”
Wally’s passion and love for flying began at a very young age. Despite belonging from an era “when women were in the kitchen”, she dreamt big and thanks her marriage to something that made her dream come true.
During an interview with The Guardian, Wally, who has never been married said, “I am married to airplanes”. She spent the majority of her life teaching flying, becoming the first female investigator of the national Transportation Safety Board.
Although she hasn’t had the opportunity to leave Earth, she attended the launch in 1995 when Eileen Collins became the first female to go to space. So tears rolled down her cheeks, Wally cried out, “Go Eileen. Go for all of us.”
Wally couldn’t wait to go to space
In a video shared by Jeff Bezos on Instagram, Wally expressed her excitement about the upcoming flight. And, when asked what her first words would be upon reaching space, she said, “Honey, that was the best thing that ever happened to me!”
Recollecting her rejection by NASA, despite doing better than any of her male counterparts who were a part of the program, Wally said, “They told me that I had done better and completed the work faster than any of the guys.”
“So I got ahold of NASA, four times. I said I want to become an astronaut, but nobody would take me. I didn’t think that I would ever get to go up,” she added further.
How long will the New Shepard trip last?
The overall trip will last for 10 minutes, with Blue Origin’s New Shepard taking off from a desert in western Texas. The passengers will get to cross the Karman line. It acts as the boundary between space and Earth’s atmosphere.
The passengers will be able to float above the Karman line and even witness Earth’s curvature from up above. After the designated time, the capsule will free fall back to Earth and the passengers will land back in Texas using parachutes and retrorockets.