Space travel is so new to us, as a species, that every crewed trip to space is historic. We are especially happy for one of the history-making passengers on the BlueOrigin flight scheduled for July 20—Wally Funk—because she’s been waiting to go to space for a long time.
At 82, Funk will become the oldest person in space. When she was a noted pilot at just 21 years of age, the US Mercury space program was just beginning.
At that time, in 1960-61, Funk became part of a group of women who passed the same fitness tests NASA administered to its original male astronauts to determine their fitness for spaceflight.
Known now as the Mercury 13, these women testified before congress in the hopes of being allowed to join the U.S. space program but were denied participation when test-pilot experience became a requirement for astronauts.
Your 60-year wait is over, Wally! Godspeed. Your pluck and perseverance inspire us all!