An 82-year-old aviator fulfilled a lifelong dream when she flew into space on Tuesday with Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos and several others.
As reported by Faithwire, Wally Funk, who trained to become an astronaut in the 1960s, became the oldest person to fly into space. She was one of the passengers on the "New Shephard," which was launched by Bezos' aerospace manufacturer and space flight company, Blue Origin.
Despite having trained to go into space when she was young, Funk was not able to go to space because she was a woman. Funk, who was 23 years old at the time, was part of Mercury 13, a crew of women who were part of NASA's privately funded "Women in Space" program.
Funk managed to pass through the requisite astronaut training, including finishing at the top of her class. Yet, she and her female cohorts were never allowed to travel into space because of their sex.
That did not stop Funk from losing her passion, however, and she went on to teach more than 3,000 people how to fly.
On Tuesday, members of Funk's church, White's Chapel in Southlake, celebrated the historic moment by watching the launch live in the sanctuary.
This has been 60 years in the making for Funk. She trained to become an astronaut in the 60s but never went to space because she’s a woman. Today her dream finally comes true. pic.twitter.com/oUknO340eM— Shannon Murray (@ShannonMFox4) July 20, 2021
Laurie Williams, the director of the seniors ministry at Funk's church, told KTVT-TV several weeks ago that Funk "is a living testimony that you can do anything you set your mind to."
"I cried ugly tears whenever I found out that she's getting this opportunity," Williams noted.
"Beyond just being a national, international hero to so many and to females, for her to have her dreams realized — for her to know that God sees her and sees her dreams and is making it happen — I cannot wait."
Funk was one of four passengers, including Bezos, his brother, Mark Bezos, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, who became the youngest person to fly into space and the company's first paying customer.
The flight lasted close to 11 minutes and reached an altitude of 66.5 miles, in which the passengers inside the capsule were able to see the edge of Earth's atmosphere, the New York Post reports.
During a post-flight press conference on Tuesday, Funk shared that she "loved every minute of the flight" but wished it would have been longer.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Joe Raedle/Staff
Video courtesy: ©Blue Origin
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.