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"It was really special getting to watch her": Local astronaut reacts to Wally Funk's historic trip

Bezos Blue Origin launch
Posted at 5:19 PM, Jul 20, 2021

DENVER — On a historic day, 82-year-old Wally Funk made history of her own, becoming the oldest person ever in space.

"I loved it and I can hardly wait to go again," Funk said at a news conference hours after the trip.

It's a moment 60 years in the making. One that former astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger truly appreciated.

"It was really special getting to watch her," said Metcalf-Lindenburger.

Metcalf-Lindenburger's time in space was 11 years ago as part of the Discovery crew.

"To actually experience and look out in multiple directions is something very different. You just can’t forget the experience. It changes you," she said of her time in space.

Growing up in Fort Collins, Metcalf-Lindenburger was inspired to reach the stars by Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.

"Space seemed like something I was dreaming about but yet didn’t seem like it could be attainable," said Metcalf-Lindenburger.

But as the Colorado astronaut points out, things have changed, as half of the NASA applicants are now women.

"Like Ssally Ride said, 'when you see someone that looks like you, it seems so much more attainable.' Obviously she made it attainable for women like me," she said.

With Tuesday's flight, she believes even more doors open.

"I think will continue to see more people flying in space with different backgrounds which will bring different stories," said Metcalf-Lindenburger.