back to article Jeff Bezos names the fourth person for the first New Shepard flight: Wally Funk

Jeff Bezos has upped the ante in the battle of the billionaire bros by handing a seat in the first crewed New Shepard flight to Virgin Galactic customer and member of the Mercury 13, Wally Funk. Funk will be joining the brothers Bezos and the individual that spanked $28m on a seat in the New Shepard capsule on the 20 July …

  1. WhereAmI?

    I really, really, really want to see her fly both New Shepherd and Virgin Galactic. Such a long, long overdue flight.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Although the Mercury 13 did get to fly in the fictional alternative history tv series For All Mankind :-)

  2. JimboSmith Silver badge

    That was jolly nice of him.

    She should never have been denied in the first place though.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Right on both counts

      I don't care which of the mega billionaires did it.

      I'm just happy for her. It's long overdue.

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    About bloody time too!

    She's done the training, it's time she got the ride.

    Though one does suspect that Bezos' publicity team had a big hand in this offer.

    1. Chris G

      Re: About bloody time too!

      I am certain the offer is more about bearding Branson than giving a well deserved seat to a pioneering woman.

      In other news, the other day I came across a pic online of Aleister Crowley, I thought it was a pic of Bezos until I read the caption.

      D'you think they could be related?

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: About bloody time too!

        Yes, that's quite a flight delay.

        To really rub it in, they could offer priority bookings to anyone waiting more than 5 years for a VG flight!

        icon: Bransons possible reaction...

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: About bloody time too!

          It's still possible that Branson might launch before Bezos anyway :-)

          Has Bezos got a line of prepaid deposit customers lined up too? He may not be able to offer early rides to people in the queue for Branson.

          1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

            Re: About bloody time too!

            Bezos said he would not sell tickets until he had a working spaceship. Branson sold hundreds of tickets but I only see 86 on the list.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: About bloody time too!

              ...and Branson just announced he's going up on July 11th, weather permitting.

              1. Wellyboot Silver badge

                Re: About bloody time too!

                That strikes me very much as get a passenger into 'space' before B-O actually does get passengers above the Karman line and they come back with much better selfies.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: About bloody time too!

          I'm hoping to see Branson announce he's working on a repair mission for Hubble. That would inspire Bezos & Musk to start in competitions and one of them might get there.

  4. TheProf

    Good for Wally

    I'm glad to hear this news. Wally Funk certainly deserves her trip into space.

    I recently read the book about her written by a BBC journalist. There was also a radio programme (or it could have been a podcast).

    She comes across as a rather eccentric woman. In the past the word 'tomboy' would have described her exactly.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Good for Wally

      Totally agree, glad she'e up to the task! However, I gotta say "Nice choice (gesture?) Jeff, but you're still a jerk, I hope history judges you better." Just remember you gotta piss in a bottle in space too! I'll stop now, as I fear this may be to far already!

    2. RosslynDad

      Re: Good for Wally

      Sue Nelson, who I believe is the "BBC Journalist" you refer to has been a trenchant advocate for women in space and raves about Wally. She's going to go nuts on hearing this!

      Do yourselves a favour and catch Sue's (and Richard's) monthly "Space Boffins" excellent podcast which covers space from a British perspective.

  5. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Bezos or Branson?

    Actually, George Clinton was the first to take Funk into outer space, in the 1970s, on The Mothership.

    Learn about it here

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Bezos or Branson?

      Or here.

      I could never tell if George and Co. (especially Bootsy) were playing it straight (as they saw it!), or if they were knowingly parodying the genre. Some really good tunes in there, though.

  6. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Upgrade the tents

    Why won't the mighty Jeff think of the employees living in Chinese tents.

    How are they going to feel seeing him going to space, through the holes in their cheap and worn tents?

    Why won't Jeff take a space cookie and take a flight on a public bus instead?

    Poor Amazon would have money for pay raises and tax?

  7. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    With this kind of thing!

  8. Clunking Fist

    Speaking of Amazon

    So, did Jeff ever pay over to his drivers, the tips from customers that his App stole?

    I'm a bit nervous when billionaire business tycoons also own the biggest media empires.

  9. Potemkine! Silver badge

    <sarcasm>Oh, Mr. Bezos is such a nice man! What a philanthropist! should make a thousand statues of him</sarcasm>

  10. Negative Charlie

    Look at it from Bezos' point of view - no matter how careful the employee screening there's bound to be someone involved in this launch with a relative who's been injured in an Amazon warehouse. That's a risk that has to be mitigated.

    Putting Funk on board is nearly as good anti-sabotage insurance as taking a nun with a basket of kittens.

    1. Spherical Cow

      Kittens in spaaaace!

      That does sound fun.

  11. adam 40 Silver badge

    She who smelt it dealt it

    Is it just me, of is the idea of having a Funk lingering in an enclosed space capsule a bit challenging?

    At least they won't be up there for long!

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