Earlier today, Wally Funk became the oldest person to ever go to space, aboard the historic New Shepard space flight. But who is Wally Funk?
Earlier today, Wally Funk was among the crew that blasted into space aboard Jeff Bezos’ New Shepard. The Amazon founder was also onboard, alongside his brother Mark and the 18-year old son of Somerset Capital Partner’s CEO. At 82, Funk is the oldest person to ever go to space.
While the focus of the historic flight has mainly been on Bezos as the second billionaire to go to space, it was also a momentous occasion in space travel. More specifically, who is allowed to venture beyond earth.
The much-anticipated trip marked a number of milestones, including the first un-piloted suborbital flight with an all-civilian crew. It was also the first crewed launch for Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. As well as the oldest, the crew also included the youngest person to ever reach space.
After landing Funk said, “I’ve been waiting a long time to finally getting up there.”
“I loved it,” she said. “I want to go again, fast!”
A long-delayed dream
After the flight, Funk described feelings of gratitude for finally seeing her long-delayed dream come true. However, she said that the aircraft didn’t quite go high enough to see the world.
“I saw darkness, I thought I was going to see the world, but we weren’t quite high enough,” she said. However, she didn’t seem too phased by this, saying the flight was “great”.
“I felt like I was just lying down, just lying down — and I was going into space.”
“I’ve done a lot of astronaut training through the world, Russia, America, and I could always beat the guys on what they were doing because I was always stronger, and I have always done everything on my own,” she said.
A lifetime of achievements
By the age of 22, Funk had earned top grades in aviation college and was a certified pilot. She was the first female civilian flight instructor at a US military base at a time when it systematically excluded women.
Funk’s lifetime goal was to become one of the first female astronauts. She was actually one of the was one of the 13 female pilots who trained to go to space in the 60s’, but she missed the chance back then due to her gender. At 24, she was the youngest of these ‘Mercury 13 women’.
She excelled across the board during her training with NASA, sometimes even surpassing the men who were selected. During one test, Funk was placed in a sensory deprivation tank. She remained there for more than 10 hours before the researchers finally brought her out, because they wanted to go home.
Hong Kong reopens to those vaccinated – but what’s the catch?
Good news for those eager to travel – parts of the world is slowly reopening
Hong Kong will allow vaccinated tourists from all but 10 places in the world to enter the city starting from August 9…
It’s a significant easing of some of the tightest border curbs in the world.
Vaccinated visitors from countries now considered “medium-risk” — which includes the U.S. and Canada will be able to enter the city for the first time since the pandemic started.
There is a slight catch, however
Visitors and residents from medium-risk countries must spend seven days in hotel quarantine after they arrive.
Those entering Hong Kong will also be required to have a positive antibody test from a laboratory recognized by the Hong Kong government to prove they were vaccinated against Covid-19.
Antibody testing facilities at the airport will be available starting in mid-August, according to an official government statement.
Associated risk level:
For these “high-risk” places, only fully inoculated residents can return but they must serve a hotel quarantine period of 21 days.
Hong Kong has fully vaccinated 2.5 million people — about 33% of its population.
2500 employees to be stood down from Qantas
About 2500 frontline Qantas and Jetstar employees will be stood down for two months
It comes as the airline struggles to deal with lockdowns in states across Australia.
The national carrier says the stand-down is a temporary measure to deal with a drop in flying caused by COVID restrictions in Sydney, – which is its home base.
No job losses are expected as part of the move.
In a statement, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says:
“This is clearly the last thing we want to do, but we’re now faced with an extended period of reduced flying and that means no work for a number of our people.”
“We’ve absorbed a significant amount of cost since these recent lockdowns started and continued paying our people their full rosters despite thousands of cancelled flights.“
Qantas said it welcomed the targeted Federal Government support offered for those stood down outside of declared hotspots and to retain domestic aviation capability.
Outside the square – Twitter CEO’s grand plans for Afterpay
Jack Dorsey has used Square’s quarterly earnings call to outline his company’s future and convince shareholders to support the $39billion dollar Afterpay takeover bid
Dorsey believes bringing Afterpay into business operations will increase e-commerce activity across both platforms and further entice young shoppers to spend up.
It plans to takeover Afterpay in a deal that values the Australian company at $39 billion. That makes it the biggest buyout deal so far in Australian corporate history.
The Twitter founder says Afterpay has a unique advantage in the buy now, pay later sector because it was the first on the scene and it has been built up “authentically”.
Following the takeover announcement, Square’s shares fell by 5 percent when compared with trading on Friday, as investors made sense of the deal.
However, after Dorsey’s pitch at the quarterly earnings call, Squares shares were up 6 percent from Friday.
It comes as shareholders voice their concerns that Square is failing to bring merchants and retail users together… and questioning how Afterpay will create value for the company.
James Whelan of VFS Group weighed in on whether Afterpay is in fact authentic.
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