While Jeff Bezos was the leading individual that many people while he launched his space tourism venture, he was not the only one. 82-year-old Wally Funk finally received her chance to enter into space.
Wally Funk has made quite a career as the first female air safety inspector for the National Transportation Safety Board, first civilian flight instructor, and first female FAA inspector. But perhaps her most notable achievement was being one of the Mercury 13, a group of female civilians who were physically comparable to the original astronauts who entered space. While Funk desperately wanted to fly into space, she could not do so due to the last test for the process being canceled. Funk would continue to make several additional attempts at getting into space, from applying as an astronaut in the 1970s to her attempt to become a Space Shuttle pilot.
However, it was not until she bought a ticket on Blue Origin that this chance to fly would become a reality as Funk soared into space alongside Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Jeff’s brother Mark and Oliver Daemen.
And Funk was not the only one to watch this. Funk’s church, White’s Chapel United Methodist Church, hosted their viewing of the launch in their church.
For many members, this was a great point of joy as they cheered, clapped, and nearly leaped from their pews as they watched their fellow church attendee fulfill her life goal. ““It’s like a family member, and we’re just so proud of her,”Rev. John McKellar, co-pastor at White’s Chapel told the Roys Report. “It’s thrilling, you know — a lifelong dream. With all that she’s experienced and that she’s done and the spirit and attitude she’s had, what an inspiration she’s been to us all.”
Funk is now the oldest person to have flown into space. Prior to her was John Glenn, who flew on the Discovery Shuttle in 1998 at age 77.