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Jeff Bezos picks female aerospace pioneer, 82, to launch with him

Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos has chosen a female aerospace pioneer — an 82-year-old pilot denied astronaut wings decades ago because of her gender — to rocket into space with him in just three weeks.

The company announces that Wally Funk will be aboard the July 20 launch from West Texas, flying in the capsule for the 10-minute hop as an “honored guest.” She’ll join Bezos, his brother, and the winner of a charity auction, as the first people to ride a New Shepard rocket.

Funk is among the so-called Mercury 13 women who went through astronaut training in the 1960s, but never made it to space — or even NASA’s astronaut corps — because they were female. Back then, all of the NASA astronauts were military test pilots and male.

In a video posted by Bezos, Funk says she feels “fabulous” about being asked to launch.

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