Washington: On a space trip scheduled for July 20th, a woman of 82 shall become the oldest person ever to go to space, reports Agence France-Presse. Wally Funk, the first woman aviator trained to fly to space in 1960-61 but excluded due to her gender, will join billionaire Jeff Bezos with his company's first crewed space flight. Funk was also the first female air safety inspector at National Transportation Safety Board and a Goodwill ambassador.
New Shepherd, the vehicle assigned for the mission of 10 minutes, will launch from Texas and spend four minutes above the Karman line that marks the boundary of Earth's atmosphere. The passengers could float around, observe Earth's curvature and descend in a free fall braked by three parachutes and retro-rockets and land back in Texas.
In a video posted by Bezos, Funk was seemingly excited. When asked what she would do after landing post the trip, she responded that she would say, "Honey, that was the best thing ever happened to me."
Funk was trained in Mercy-13, an unofficial training program for women for space travel, with training and tests similar to male astronauts at NASA. Though Funk did well in her training and contacted NASA several times, she was rejected. Many told her then that she can't do it since she is a girl. She added that she never expected to get such a chance now.
The vehicle, named after the first American in space, Alan Shepherd, is a reusable suborbital rocket system that has carried out more than a dozen successful test flights.
Funk and Bezos would be accompanied by an unknown who paid 28 million dollars for a seat through an auction.