Meet Wally Funk, the 82-Year-Old Woman Joining Jeff Bezos in Space: 'No One Has Waited Longer'

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wally funk
wally funk

AP/Shutterstock Wally Funk

Wally Funk is finally heading to space!

Jeff Bezos announced Thursday that the 82-year-old aviator will join him, his brother Mark and a still unidentified fourth passenger when they head into space on the Amazon billionaire's Blue Origin spaceflight later this month.

"No one has waited longer," Bezos said in a social media post revealing Funk will join him as an "honored guest" come July 20.

Funk is a member of what is known as Mercury 13, a group of women who tested to become astronauts in the 1960s, before their program was later canceled, according to The Washington Post.

At 82, Funk is set to become the oldest person to fly to space, a record currently held by astronaut John Glenn, who was sent into orbit for the last time at age 77 in 1998, per NASA.

RELATED: Unidentified Bidder Spends $28M in Auction to Join Jeff Bezos' Forthcoming Flight into Space

In a video shared by Bezos, 57, Funk explained that she's been "flying forever," and has 19,600 flying hours under her belt.

"I have taught over 3,000 people to fly — private, commercial, instrument, flight engineer, airline transport, gliding — everything that the FAA has, I've got the license for," she said in the Instagram clip, adding with a laugh, "And I can outrun you."

According to the Post, Funk was also the first female Federal Aviation Administration inspector and first female National Transportation Safety Board air safety investigator.

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wally funk
wally funk

MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Funk said in Bezos' clip that during her time in the Mercury 13 program, she'd been told that she "had done better and completed the work faster than any of the guys."

But still, her ultimate dream of traveling to space eluded her.

"I got a hold of NASA four times. I said, 'I want to become an astronaut.' But nobody would take me," she said. "I didn't think that I would ever get to go up."

Now, with a chance to finally accomplish her lifelong goal, Funk said she has never deferred her dreams.

"Nothing has ever gotten in my way," she noted in the clip. "They said, 'Wally you're a girl, you can't do that!' I said, 'Guess what? Doesn't matter what you are, you can still do it if you want to do it.' And I like to do things that nobody has ever done."

Of her planned trip to space, Funk, who is also an antique car enthusiast and an avid zipliner, added: "I'll love every second of it. I can hardly wait."

RELATED VIDEO: Little Girl Who Dreams of Being Astronaut Celebrates SpaceX Launch

Last month, an auction for a trip to space alongside Bezos, his brother and Funk ended with a winning bid of $28 million.

Blue Origin — the aerospace manufacturing and spaceflight company founded by the Amazon billionaire in 2000 — announced that a seat on a spacecraft, named New Shepard, was officially purchased during an online auction.

Roughly 7,600 people from 159 countries registered to bid on the forthcoming trip, Blue Origin said. The winning bid amount is now set to be donated to Club for the Future, which is Blue Origin's foundation that encourages STEM careers "to help invent the future of life in space."

RELATED: Richard Branson Is Going to Space — Just Over a Week Before Fellow Billionaire Jeff Bezos

The high bidder from the auction will be revealed in the weeks to come, Blue Origin said. Though the capsule can take on six passengers total, this trip will be limited to four, per NBC News.

According to the official website, the New Shepard is "fully autonomous," as there is no pilot and everyone is a passenger. The reusable vehicle takes 11-minute flights into space, "designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Kármán line — the internationally recognized boundary of space."

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