- A Virgin Galactic ticket holder told Insider that Wally Funk was very “understated” and energetic.
- Caroline Freeland, who is training for her spaceflight, said she met Funk at parties and talks.
- Freeland said she also met Richard Branson, who she described as a “lovely chap.”
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That’s according to Virgin Galactic ticket holder, Caroline Freeland, who told Insider that she has met the 82-year-old on several occasions.
After buying her $250,000 ticket for a trip to the edge of space on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spaceship, Freeland, 58, was invited to former astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s 49th and 50th anniversary parties.
The three-day celebrations in Cape Canaveral allowed Freeland to get to know many well-known astronauts, including Funk, who is the oldest person to travel into space.
Freeland, who has already completed some training for her spaceflight with Virgin Galactic, described Funk as “very understated … engaging, easy, charming, happy, and fun.”
The recent Blue Origin astronaut “really bounces around … she has the energy of 6,000 labradors,” Freeland said.
Funk was part of a group of female aviators called Mercury 13 in anticipation of flying to space in the 1960s but she never got the chance to go. Bezos asked Funk to join him, his brother, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen on a trip to space in Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.
Funk also traveled to London and gave a speech about her experience in the space industry to 10 to 15 Virgin Galactic ticket holders, which Freeland said she attended.
Freeland said that these meetups were “one of the wonderful things about this whole journey to becoming a future astronaut.”
The ticket holder and future astronaut said she’s also met Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson, who she described as a “lovely chap.” Branson beat Bezos to space by nine days when Virgin Galactic flew its first crewed mission 55 miles above Earth.
Freeland, who is London-based, said she also met former NASA astronaut, Mike Massimino, at the parties.