Wally Funk was awarded the 2022 Michael Collins Trophy for Lifetime Achievement March 24, 2022, at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum‘s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Michael Collins Trophy recognizes extraordinary accomplishments in aeronautics and spaceflight.
Funk was a member of the First Lady Astronaut Trainees (FLATs, also known as the “Mercury 13”). These seven women who once aspired to fly into space stand outside Launch Pad 39B near the Space Shuttle Discovery in this photograph from 1995. The so-called Mercury 13 was a group of women who trained to become astronauts for America’s first human spaceflight program in the early 1960s. Although FLATs was never an official NASA program, the commitment of these women paved the way for others who followed.
In July 2021 after a lifetime of groundbreaking achievements, an 82-year-old Funk finally traveled to space aboard Blue Origin, becoming the oldest person to travel to space.
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