She was specifically chosen by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, to accompany him, his brother, and public sale winner 18-year-old Oliver Daemen on the suborbital journey.
The 82-year-old took the fourth spot on the inaugural crewed flight of its New Shepard suborbital spacecraft.
Funk flew on New Shepard as an “honored guest,” in keeping with a publish on Bezos’ Instagram, which additionally confirmed Bezos revealing to Funk that she would be a part of the mission. She then beamed and yelled excitedly.
Funk volunteered as a member of the “Mercury 13” program, in any other case often known as the “Woman in Space Program,” in February of 1961, which was a privately-funded effort supposed to start coaching ladies to fly in NASA’s earliest space packages. The 13 ladies in this system undertook all the coaching and testing that the seven males chosen by NASA for the Mercury spaceflight program undertook.
Funk turned the youngest woman to graduate from this system, and he or she was informed she “had done better and completed the work faster than any of the guys,” she mentioned throughout a promotional video about her participation within the Blue Origin flight.
Funk even spent 10 hours and 35 minutes inside a sensory deprivation tank in a single Mercury 13 check, outperforming famed astronaut John Glenn.
“I got ahold of NASA four times, and said ‘I want to become an astronaut,’ but nobody would take me,” Funk mentioned. “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 has intensive expertise piloting plane, logging over 19,600 flying hours, and educating greater than 3,000 folks how you can fly non-public and business plane.
“Everything the FAA has, I’ve got the license for. And I can outrun you,” she joked.
However Funk did not want all that have to fly on Blue Origin’s New Shepard automobile. The totally autonomous spacecraft and rocket system is designed to permit nearly anybody to develop into an astronaut after only a few hours of security directions and coaching at Blue Origin’s services in West Texas.
New Shepard’s suborbital fights hit about 3 times the pace of sound – roughly 2,300 miles per hour – and fly instantly upward till the rocket expends most of its gas. The crew capsule then separates from the rocket on the prime of the trajectory and briefly continues upward earlier than the capsule nearly hovers on the prime of its flight path, giving the passengers a couple of minutes of weightlessness. It really works kind of like an prolonged model of the weightlessness you expertise whenever you attain the height of a curler coaster hill, simply earlier than gravity brings your cart – or, on this case, your space capsule — screaming again down towards the bottom.
The New Shepard capsule then deployed a big plume of parachutes to gradual its descent to lower than 20 miles per hour earlier than it hit the bottom, and Bezos and his fellow passengers have been additional cushioned by shock-absorbent seats.
In keeping with a 2019 profile of Funk within the Guardian, Funk beforehand bought a ticket aboard the suborbital spaceplane constructed by the Richard Branson-backed firm Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin’s direct competitor.
It is not clear if Funk will preserve her plans to fly with Virgin Galactic as properly.
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