After 60 years, Fink will realize the space dream and inspire more women in aerospace industry


Wally Fink
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According to Tencent technology news on July 20, after 60 years, Wally funk has finally realized his dream of entering space. It also helps to motivate a new generation of women to pursue aerospace.
Fink is finally going to space.
On Tuesday, the 82 year old Fink will be the oldest astronaut ever when she crosses the space line on a blue origin rocket. But that’s not what makes her so special.
Fink is one of the few people who have witnessed the two manned space age. First, there was fierce competition in the space field between the United States and the Soviet Union. Now, private companies are competing for the space tourism market and launch contracts. Because of Fink’s female identity, she was finally excluded from the previous era, and now she is about to experience a new space age herself.
Fink in 2019
Fink’s space trip began with a ski accident in 1956 that crushed two of her vertebrae. Fink was told she would never walk again. At the age of 17, she was able to use strong evidence to overturn the “you can’t” habit. During her recovery, a counselor advised her to take an aviation class as a distraction. In Stephanie Nolen’s book “promised the moon,” Fink says that the first time she flew a plane into the air, “it just felt like an insect bite.”
That year, Fink flew solo and got a pilot’s license at the age of 17. Fink took every opportunity to practice and even sneaked away from the ball to practice night flying. She flew for 19600 hours and taught more than 3000 people to fly.
Fink may have spent more time as a pilot than flying with three men in space.
In her fourth year of college, Fink won the title of the most outstanding pilot. When the airport manager presented the trophy to her, he said, “remember me, if a woman can go into space, it must be Wally, or her students.”
When Fink turns 21, it seems possible. In life magazine, she saw an article entitled “prelude to wet space” with a picture of a woman floating in an isolation tank. She immediately wrote to the doctor in the article and the hospital where the experiment was conducted.
“Ever since I learned to fly, I’ve been interested in these tests to become an astronaut,” she wrote in a letter to Dr. William Lovelace.
In 1961, three years before Bezos was born, Fink joined the women in space program as part of an astronaut test with 12 other women. The tests were designed by loveles for mercury mission astronauts. He wants women to take the same test to see if they’re fit for space. They didn’t accept people under 24, but they recruited Fink.
The tests included injecting ice water into the subjects’ ears to induce vertigo and placing them in sensory deprived containers. Fink stayed in the water tank for more than 10 hours before the researchers who wanted to go home released her. As a result, she was already asleep.
On the whole, women who passed the first round of the test performed as well as men, or even better, while Fink did particularly well.
All the female pilots who took part in the test had hundreds or thousands of hours of flight records. In some cases, more men than the astronauts.
Fink in the astronaut test in 1961
None of these women ended up in space. As the US Soviet space race heats up, “women’s space program” is shut down. Soviet astronaut Valentina Tereshkova went into space in 1963, while NASA did not put the first American woman into orbit until 1983.
These women are now commonly referred to as members of the mercury 13 mission, but they call themselves the first female astronaut trainees (flat). Their story was not widely known until recently. But among women and space researchers, the story of Fink and his companions trying to become astronauts but failing to get into space because of their gender resonates.
Some of them see Fink as a hero who breaks the gender barrier, and they want her to be a role model for women again.
Tanya Harrison, a planetary scientist and head of scientific strategy at the Planetary Laboratory, said: “it’s incredible to see her finally go into space after decades of proving that she is not only capable, but probably more capable than the men on the mercury mission.”
“Her enthusiasm and attitude have a positive impact,” Harrison added, “so I hope her space flight will provide her with a new platform to inspire a new generation of women to pursue aerospace.”
Fink said she was not discouraged when she learned that the project had been cancelled.
“I was young and happy. I just believe it will come, “she said“ Even if not today, in a few months
In 1962, she applied to NASA twice to join the Gemini mission and applied again in 1966. Over the years, she applied four times to become an astronaut, but was rejected on the grounds that Fink had never received an engineering degree. But the truth is, when astronaut John Glenn was selected for the mercury mission, he didn’t have an engineering degree.
Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old high school graduate who accompanied Fink on Tuesday, also didn’t have an engineering degree.
For the past 60 years, Fink has been trying to find another way to get into space.
“I was told that when things don’t go well, you can choose another way,” she said.

In 2010, Fink paid $200000 for a Virgin Galactic ticket, hoping to eventually take the opportunity to enter space. It’s hard to skip the space race between the two billionaires and wonder if Bezos invited Fink to travel with him to surpass Richard Branson. After all, it was Bezos who eventually sent Fink into space.
Cady Coleman is a NASA astronaut who has worked on the space shuttle and the international space station. She believes the invitation is a message to Fink and many other women who work in the field of aerospace in obscurity.
“Wally – you’re important. What you do is very important. I salute you. ” Coleman thinks Bezos is expressing this. She added: “when Wally flew, we all went with her.”
But for many women and people in space and astronomy, the subtlety of this moment is far more than the realization of one’s lifelong dream.
“On the one hand, I’m excited for her because she can finally realize her long-standing dream,” said lucianne walkowicz, an astronomer at the Adler planetarium in Chicago On the other hand, she won the opportunity not because all the factors that kept her out of the door have been solved, but because Bezos, as the gatekeeper, opened the door to space for her. ”
This form of gatekeeper has hindered many women from making greater achievements in space flight and space science. Of the 13 women who took part in the astronaut test, only Fink and gene Nora Jessen are still alive. Jason had to stop flying in 2017 for physical reasons, and Fink struggled for 60 years to finally realize his space journey.
“These personal stories and victories are important, but they are not universal,” volkovic added.
Katie Mack, an astrophysicist and assistant professor of astronomy at North Carolina State University, also talked about the excitement of Fink’s entry into space and who should make the decision.
“It’s a change that I’m still trying to deal with to start choosing astronauts based on a whim and money,” Mike said“ Obviously, as we can see from Fink, organizations like NASA may make the wrong choice to exclude those who might have been good astronauts. However, although I fully support Bezos’ decision to choose Fink to go to space, I still don’t know whether I prefer the new standard
As the opportunities offered by commercial space flight are no longer based on skills, but on the size of a person’s wallet, people will have to continue to ask the question: who is the right person to go into space?
But now, in the four minute weightlessness of the blue origin Capsule on Tuesday, space will belong to Fink, and three other people who are lucky enough to witness Fink’s joy( (translated by Tencent technology / Jiao Han)