Jeff Bezos has invited Wally Funk, 82, one of the original thirteen women astronaut candidates for the 1960s Mercury program, to fly on his suborbital tourist flight scheduled for July 20th, joining Bezos, his brother Mark, and the still unnamed winner of the auction to buy that seat.
Funk is a pioneer in aviation: She was the first female Federal Aviation Administration inspector and first female National Transportation Safety Board air safety investigator. She has logged 19,600 hours of flight time and taught more than 3,000 people to fly, she said in Bezos’s Instagram video. “Everything that the FAA has, I’ve got the license for,” Funk says in the video. “And, I can outrun you!”
In the Instagram video, Bezos describes the plan for the New Shepard’s journey to a wide-eyed Funk, down to the moment when the rocket returns to the desert surface and its doors open. “We open the hatch, and you step outside. What’s the first thing you say?” Bezos asks Funk.
She does not hesitate. “I will say, ‘Honey, that’s the best thing that ever happened to me!’ ” Funk declares, pulling Bezos into a bear hug.
This is a gracious gesture by Bezos, even some on the left will use it to slander the 1960s NASA and America by making both look bigoted against women. That was not what happened, and Funk’s own success as a woman pilot and FAA official at that time proves it.
Why Blue Origin has not named the winner of its auction to buy that last seat however is beginning to be a bit puzzling.
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From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space
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