Wally Funk , an 82 years old woman now, who trained for NASA’s Mercury program but was denied the opportunity to go to space, will do it this month, on July 20th, with the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos on a 11-minute flight that’ll reach more than 60 miles above Earth. Funk will fly on New Shepard suborbital space capsule of Blue Origin as an “honored guest,” according to a post on Bezos’ Instagram. She will accompany him, his brother, and an as-yet unknown auction winner who will pay over $28 million for the opportunity. “I got ahold of NASA four times, and said ‘I want to become an astronaut,’ but nobody would take me,” Funk said. “I didn’t think I would ever get to go up. Nothing has ever gotten in my way. They say, ‘Wally, you’re a girl, you can’t do that.’ I said, ‘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 before,” Funk said. She has extensive experience piloting aircraft, logging over 19,600 flying hours and teaching more than 3,000 people how to fly private and commercial aircraft.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” Bezos, 57, said in a Monday morning Instagram post. Bezos has a net worth of $187 billion. Blue Origin was founded by Bezos in 2000, and the company conducted more than a dozen test flights. In addition to New Shepard, Blue Origin is also working to develop a towering rocket called New Glenn, which the company hopes will be used to send US government and commercial satellites to orbit.