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82-year-old woman is going into space

Wally Funk was one of the Mercury 13 women who trained as astronauts.
Wally Funk was one of the Mercury 13 women who trained as astronauts.

ORLANDO, Fla., July 1 (UPI) -- Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin has chosen 82-year-old female aviator Wally Funk to ride into space on the company's first crewed flight July 20.

Funk was one of the Mercury 13 women who trained under the same conditions as men in the 1960s, but never were selected as astronauts. She logged more than 19,000 flight hours and became the first female inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration.

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"I got ahold of NASA four times. I said I want to become an astronaut, and they wouldn't take me," Funk said in an Instagram post from Blue Origin. "I didn't think that I would ever get to."

Bezos and his brother, Mark, will occupy two other seats in the New Shepard capsule that is to be launched from West Texas. A fourth passenger whom the company hasn't revealed paid more than $29 million for the fourth seat.

According to a fact sheet from Blue Origin, Funk at one point was placed in a sensory deprivation tank for 10 hours, 35 minutes, setting a record and scoring higher than astronaut John Glenn in the test.

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Blue Origin chose the July 20 date partly because it is the 52nd anniversary of the first moon landing.

Out-of-this-world images from space

The International Space Station is pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during a flyaround of the orbiting lab that took place following its undocking from the Harmony module’s space-facing port on November 8. Photo courtesy of NASA

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