Fulfilling a lifelong mission to become an astronaut, Wally Funk will fly to space on New Shepard’s first human flight on July 20 as an honoured guest. She will join Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, and the auction winner on the flight.

Wally’s journey to space began in the 1960s when she was the youngest graduate of the Woman in Space Program, a privately-funded project which tested female pilots for astronaut fitness. Later known as the “Mercury 13” – thirteen American women successfully underwent the same physiological and psychological screening tests as the astronauts selected by NASA for Project Mercury, but they never flew to space. Wally was the youngest graduate of this program.

She was the first female FAA inspector and first female NTSB air safety investigator. The 82-year-old pilot will now be part of the first crew on New Shepard, and the oldest person ever to fly to space.

Here’s the moment Jeff Bezos asked Wally Funk to join the first human flight on July 20 as his honoured guest.

Wally with join Jeff and his brother Mark on the first flight on July 20, along with the as yet unidentified winner of the online auction for the first seat on New Shepard that concluded on June 12 with a winning bid of $28 million. Nearly 7,600 people registered to bid from 159 countries.

The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, whose mission is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and to help invent the future of life in space.

The name of the auction winner is promised to be released soon.