Just a few months ago, Blue Origin, the space company founded and funded by Jeff Bezos, didn’t think it would have made history on July 20, 2021. But that’s what happened.
It was the day Mary Wallace (Wally) Funk went into space.
Oh, yes, yes, Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin and Amazon, was also in the capsule, with 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, his first paying space customer. And Jeff’s brother, whom he called “the funniest man in space,” a compliment disputed by a number of experienced space journalists in West Texas today for the launch. (His evidence is a 2 Funny Astronauts podcast hosted by Mike Massimino and Garrett Reisman.)
But while sending the world’s richest man into space is an impressive gambit, and the advent of commercial space tourism is a milestone, Wally Funk is sui generis. In a story that is told and repeated in a thousand media this week, in 1960, Funk was part of the original Mercury 13, a group formed to become the first female astronauts. But NASA did not want to sign the program, and for the past 60 years, Funk, an experienced pilot and a diligent air safety investigator, has become obsessed with occupying the spacecraft’s headquarters. In 2010, he signed for a $ 200,000 position aboard Richard Branson’s VSS Unit, Expecting a Virgin Galactic suborbital flight sometime that decade. Frustration built up when his date never came close. Then, from heaven, Bezos offered him a space for today’s New Shepard launch.
When the world learned today, it was more than ready. His teammates have repeatedly stated that the octogenarian was the most prepared and most suitable of the group, and surely today his energy was clear to all. Even when the crew was strapped into the capsule waiting for takeoff – a time when one would forgive a little anxiety – he was impatiently heading towards the Kármán line. “I felt so accused,” he said afterward.
“We had a six-minute take, and I was wondering what it was going to take so long,” Bezos said. “What the hell! Let’s burn the light of day!”
However, when New Shepard took flight and flew 65 miles into space, he was out of his seat and making crazy maneuvers. “Ohhh! I like! I like it! ”He roared as she and her horse companions rode in what looked like a mutant spectacle of the Pilobolus dance troupe.
During the post-flight press conference, she owned the room from the moment she entered the scene. (Considering the room was “the stable,” a facility on the basis of Blue Origin large enough to hold the New Shepard razor behind, he was saying something.) Instead of walking to his place like the others, he he moved to the edge of his lap and spread his arms, a bold victory move like that of Megan Rapinoe. Every time he spoke, he would get up, hold the microphone in his face, and boom his comment. The crowd, which included reporters, friends and family of the crew, and Alan Shepard’s two daughters, ate her.