Just a few months ago Blue Origin, a space company founded and funded by Jeff Bezos, did not anticipate going down in history on July 20, 2021. But it did.
It was the day Mary Wallace (Wally) Funk went into space.
Oh, yes, yes, the founder of Blue Origin and Amazon, Jeff Bezos, was also in the capsule, along with 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, his first space customer. And Jeff’s brother, whom he called “the funniest man in space,” a compliment for which any number of experienced space reporters in West Texas were launched today. (Their proof is 2 funny astronaut podcasts hosts Mike Massimino and Garrett Reisman.)
But while sending the richest man into space is a striking gambit, and the advent of commercial space tourism is a turning point, Wally Funk is You are generous. In a story told and retold in thousands of media this week, in 1960, Funk was part of the original Mercury 13, a group trained to become the first female astronaut. But NASA was reluctant to sign up for the program, and for the past 60 years Funk, an expert pilot and diligent aviation security investigator, has become obsessed with taking a seat in a spacecraft that has been denied to it. In 2010, she signed up for $ 200,000 on board VSS Richard Branson Unity, expecting a Virgin Galactic suborbital flight sometime that decade. Frustration arose as the date never approached her. Then Bezos suddenly offered her space at today’s New Shepard launch.
As the world has learned today, she was more than ready. Her colleagues from the crew repeatedly claimed that the octagon was the most ready and most capable for a crowd of them, and surely today her energy was clear to everyone. Although the crew was tied to the capsule waiting to be lifted — a time when a little anxiety could be forgiven — they strained impatiently toward the Kármán line. “I felt so charged,” she said later.
“We had six minutes of detention and she wondered what was going on so long,” Bezos said. “What the hell! We burn daylight! “
Certainly, when New Shepard flew, and climbed 65 miles to space, was out of place and performing crazy maneuvers. “Ohhh! I love it! I love it! ”She cried as she and her crew enjoyed something that looked like a mutant Pilobolus dance troupe.
During the summer press conference, she owned the room from the moment she walked the stage. (Since the room was a “barn,” a facility at Blue Origin base large enough to hold a New Shepard rocket behind it, this said something.) Instead of walking to her seat like the others, she moved to the edge of her stage and spread out. hands, a winning move as brave as Megan Rapinoe. Every time she spoke, she stood up, put the microphone to her face, and spread her comment. The crowd, including reporters, friends and family of the crew, and Alan Shepard’s two daughters ate it.