Wally Funk, 82, Speaks Out After Historic Blue Origin Spaceflight With Jeff Bezos: ‘I Wanna Go Again!’

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July 20, 2021 12:10PM EDT

Wally Funk made past arsenic the oldest idiosyncratic to question to abstraction onboard Jeff Bezos’ New Shepard rocket, and said aft returning to Earth that she’s acceptable for different trip!

Mary Wallace “Wally” Funk may physically beryllium backmost connected Earth, but mentally she’s inactive connected clould nine. The 82-year-old iconic abstraction aviator was onboard Jeff Bezos‘ 6-foot-tall New Shepard rocket from Blue Origin that jetted disconnected into abstraction (and back!) connected Tuesday, July 20. Wally became the oldest idiosyncratic to ever question into abstraction acknowledgment to the adventure, and was joined by Jeff, 57, his member Mark Bezos, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen. The foursome lifted disconnected from the West Texas motorboat tract at 9 a.m. EST and changeable consecutive up to the borderline of space, earlier making a perfectly harmless instrumentality landing.

Mark Bezos, Jeff Bezos, Oliver Daemen & Wally FunkMark Bezos, Jeff Bezos, Oliver Daemen & Wally Funk of Blue Origin’s New Shepard abstraction unit connected July 20 (Photo: Shutterstock)

Wally had a lifelong imagination to spell to abstraction arsenic the first-ever pistillate Federal Aviation Agency inspector and a subordinate of the iconic all-female Mercury 13. After landing, Wally and her 3 antheral crew members each received pins for their accomplishment during a property conference. “Best pin I’ve ever had successful my life. And I’ve had a batch of them,” Wally said, receiving a immense applause from the crowd. Wally besides shared her acquisition connected the formation to the crowd. “I had specified a bully instructor. He took america done everything we were gonna do. When I went up this morning, the sound wasn’t rather arsenic bad,” she said. “I thought one was going to spot the world. We weren’t up precocious enough. I felt great. I felt similar we were conscionable laying down and I was going into space.”

“I’ve been waiting a agelong clip to yet get it up determination and I’ve done a batch of astronaut grooming and I tin ever bushed the guys connected what they were doing due to the fact that I was ever stronger and I’ve ever done everything connected my own,” the longtime astronaut continued. “I loved it, and I emotion being present with each of you. The 4 of us, we had a large time. It was wonderful. I wanna spell again — fast! When I got disconnected the vessel they gave maine the tail-end of 1 of the balloons and I’m gonna cherish that forever.”

"Go Jeff, spell Mark, spell Wally, spell Oliver—YOU ARE GOING TO SPACE."#BlueOrigin blasts off. https://t.co/VX9QqD70Zw pic.twitter.com/TJ1NUMf0fx

— ABC News (@ABC) July 20, 2021

The mission, named NS-16, marked the archetypal clip that Blue Origin sent humans to space. Jeff, however, is not the archetypal billionaire to marque specified a monumental journey: Virgin Galactic laminitis Richard Branson flew to space and backmost successful his company’s rocket connected July 11. During the flight, the New Shepard rocket and capsule experienced what’s called “Max Q,” an aerospace word that refers to the constituent during formation astatine which a conveyance experiences its maximum dynamic pressure, according to CNN. After the vessel grazed outer space, Wally and the remainder of the crew descended backmost to Earth. They deployed parachutes and the capsule safely touched down.

Both Wally and Oliver’s inclusions connected the formation made history. While Wally became the oldest idiosyncratic to spell to space, Oliver is present the youngest astatine 18 years old. The teen, who is the lad of Joes Daemen, CEO of the Dutch backstage equity steadfast Somerset Capital Partners, also became Blue Origin’s archetypal paying customer, arsenic helium took the place of an anonymous bidder that won a spot connected the formation for $28 cardinal during an auction. The archetypal victor had “scheduling conflicts.”

Wally FunkWally Funk astatine the Glenn Research Center astatine Lewis Field successful Cleveland, Ohio connected March 29, 2019 (Photo: Shutterstock)

The time earlier takeoff, Jeff said successful a CNN interrogation that it would not beryllium a risky mission, citing New Shepard’s self-governing unit capsule. “We cognize the conveyance is safe,” the billionaire said. “If the conveyance is not harmless for me, it’s not harmless for anyone.” Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith added that the institution wouldn’t person had usage for trial pilots. “We didn’t spot immoderate value, rather honestly, from doing things step-wise successful that approach,” helium explained. “Seeing that this is an autonomous vehicle, there’s truly thing for a unit subordinate to spell do.”