Fulfilling a lifelong dream on New Shepard flight
Women in Aviation International (WAI) congratulates Wally Funk, Lifetime WAI Member #26, for getting one step closer to fulfilling a lifelong mission to become an astronaut. This week, Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos released a video on social media personally inviting Wally as an honored guest on New Shepard’s first human space flight on July 20. She will join Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, and an unnamed auction winner on the flight.
Wally is a 1995 inductee to the WAI Pioneer Hall of Fame recognized for her many firsts throughout her career. She graduated first in her flight training class at Stephens College, and went on to excel in the flying curriculum at Oklahoma State University. At age 20, Wally was the first woman ever hired to flight instruct at Fort Still, Oklahoma. In the 1960s, she was one of 25 women chosen to undergo preliminary astronaut testing for a privately funded project called the Women in Space Program which tested female pilots for astronaut fitness. Later known as the “Mercury 13” – thirteen American women successfully underwent the same physiological and psychological screening tests as the male astronauts selected by NASA for Project Mercury, but they never flew to space. Wally was the youngest graduate of this program.