How Billionaire Jeff Bezos Fulfilled Wally Funk’s 60-year Space Mission

Jeff Bezos invested 20 billion for his ticket to ride in space. The jury is out on whether this kind of investment is more about billionaire capriciousness or a worthwhile future investment, following Richard Branson’s foray into Space last week, as back on Earth, there are probably more worthy causes. Clearly space is no longer “green fields” in investment speak, and the Space Race back in the 1960s between Russia and the US is mirrored here, so the game hasn’t changed, only the players.

Jeff Bezos. Photo: Blue Origin

Photo: Blue Origin

Photo: Blue Origin

Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin’s flight has overtaken Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic ascent by going 10 miles higher than the latter during its attempt on July 11th. Accompanying the billionaire tech mogul were his brother, Mark Bezos; 82-year-old Mary Wallace Funk; and Dutch teen Oliver Daemen, Blue Origin’s first paying passenger, the son of millionaire Joes Daemen, founder of CEO of Somerset Capital Partners.

Photo: Blue Origin

Oliver Daemen, Jeff Bezos, Wally Funk and Mark Bezos. Photo: Blue Origin

Oliver Daemen, Wally Funk and Mark Bezos. Photo: Blue Origin

Funk is a woman of many abilities. As the oldest person ever to go into space, she was the youngest member of the privately funded “Mercury 13” trained for NASA’s first spaceflight program in 1961. Known collectively as the Fellow Lady Astronaut Trainees (FLATs), Funk and the other 12 women were selected to undergo the same series of medical and physiological tests as men from “Mercury 7”. Unfortunately, the program was not recognised by NASA.

Photo: Museum of Women’s Pilot

Nevertheless, she became the first female Federal Aviation Administration inspector in 1971 and later the first female air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board. A role she held for 11 years and investigated 450 accidents. In addition, she has accumulated over 19,600 hours of flying time throughout her career. That’s incredible!

To continue her dream of traveling to space, Funk paid $200,000 for a future ride on Virgin Galactic’s suborbital plane. Again, that’s not due anytime soon due to a few setbacks.

As witnessed by the world yesterday, the aviation pioneer finally fulfilled her lifelong dream.

Ezza

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