From Mercury 13 to Virgin Galactic in One Night


Last night I had the honor of being the emcee for the 2019 Space Camp Hall of Fame induction ceremony. For the record, it was more than a little surreal sharing the stage with Homer Hickam and NASA

Marshall Space Flight Center Director Jody Singer and Dr. Deborah Barnhart and X Ambassadors keyboardist Casey Harris (and standing, as Jody pointed out, in the spot where Vice President Pence announced the goal of going to the moon in five years back in March).

But possibly the most incredible part was the history captured between two of the inductees in particular.

I was awed just to be in the same room as Wally Funk, one of the “Mercury 13” women who aced the tests given to the Mercury 7 astronauts and helped paved the way for female astronauts in the United States, despite never getting to go into space herself (yet). Getting a giant bear hug from Wally Funk as she takes the stage – yeah, that memory will stay with me.

It was also rather incredible to be sitting at a table having supper with Beth Moses, who made news (and history) just a few months ago as the first passenger of a commercial spaceflight.

As I was watching the presentations, though, I was struck with the realization that in a lifetime, we’ve gone from Wally Funk not getting the opportunity to fly because she was female to Beth Moses being the first human being, period, to open a new era of spaceflight. And if we can go from Wally Funk to Beth Moses in a lifetime, the future is exciting indeed.