Wally Funk Shoots For The Stars

March 18, 1995 Aviator Wally Funk was inducted into the Aviation Women’s Hall of Fame. In 1961, Funk entered the Women In Space test program. Thirteen women passed the tests undergone by male astronauts- everything from drinking radioactive water to submersion in an isolation chamber to performing difficult maneuvers in a centrifuge and high altitude chamber. They were nicknamed the “Mercury 13” and expected to be accepted into NASA’s astronaut ranks, but after political manuevers, including negative testimony by famed pilot Jackie Cochran, the project was abruptly canceled and the women were sent home. Funk went on to work as a flight instructor and fly for an aviation company but she has never lost her love her space. Her story and the stories of the other 12 female astronaut candidates was chronicled in Tanya Lee Stone’s award winning book for young people, ALMOST ASTRONAUTS.