Oklahomans Reflect On Historic Space Launch, With Wally Funk On Board

Tuesday, July 20th 2021, 5:30 pm
By: Augusta McDonnell

A historic space launch Tuesday morning marks the beginning of commercial space travel, as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos launched himself and three others into the atmosphere. 

This moment feels historic for a long legacy of Oklahomans whose lives have been dedicated to the final frontier. 

Oklahoma has a long history of space exploration. A collection of trailblazing astronauts and aviators come from Oklahoma.

At the Stafford Air and Space Museum, kids learned about them. 

Alivia watched the launch Tuesday with her mom. 

“It was really cool, and I was hoping that it wouldn’t crash, she said.”  

Millions watched, as four people saw the world, and themselves, from a new perspective. 

Astronauts in history have a lot to say about scenes of earth from way above the surface. 

“They often describe it as the bluest blue thing you could ever imagine. They say the English language is too limited to express what they saw,” said Max Ary, director of the museum.

Former NASA Administrator Jim Bridensine from Oklahoma said the future of aviation is for everyone and touches everyone’s life.

“I think it’s important to reflect on the past, how things have changed, and to have both the youngest and the oldest astronauts on this flight,” Bridenstine said. 

There’s a sign hanging in the museum that says, “We are the children of explorers, maintain the legacy.”

A safe touchdown brought 82-year-old OSU alum Wally Funk back to earth. 

And brought inspiration to the next generation of astronauts who hope to follow their dreams. Wherever the future takes us.