MEMPHIS, Tenn. — She made global headlines for an out of this world trip over the summer, but Wally Funk’s journey to space actually started decades ago.

She was the youngest graduate of the woman in space program and her resume hasn’t stopped expanding since.

The now 82-year-old veteran aviator joined us live on Thursday to discuss her journey to outer space and beyond.

Funk said she didn’t get to go to space all those years ago because she was missing one thing– a degree.

“In 1963, I had trained with NASA. I had trained in Russia with the cosmonauts and I was very young 20…23…and I happened to be so strong that I beat the rest of the guys. But I did not have an engineering degree, so NASA would not hire me until I got that engineering degree,” she said.

Of course, she didn’t let that stop her from flying.

“I never received it because I have been flying all of my life. I’ve got 19,600 flight hours and I have taught hundreds and hundreds of people to fly,” she said.

One of her greatest moments in her life was becoming an inspector at the Federal Aviation Agency in Long Beach, California.

“When NTSB saw me doing what I did with the FAA, they invited me to Washington and said ‘would you please come and let us interview you’ which I did…and I got hired by the National Transportation Safety Board out in Los Angeles. I was with them for 10 years,” she said. “Being outside and doing things outside was more my thing. I was a tomboy. I didn’t want to be inside. I didn’t want to play with dolls…I wanted to be playing with tools, building houses, building airplanes, etc.”

Despite living during a time where women didn’t work in any profession– much less a male dominated profession– she said it was the easiest thing she had ever done.

Growing up in Taos, New Mexico, her parents always encouraged her to follow her passions which she said contributes to her success.

“My father had a 5 to 10…he would bring me balsam wood airplanes back to hang from my ceiling which I loved! I made one or two a day…and I just loved being outside. I was driving a tractor at 10 or 11-years-old. I was driving cars then. I was skiing…I was shooting,” she said. “I was doing everything that anyone wanted to do and it just so happened to be that Taos was the greatest place and mother was fantastic! She was so great…I owe so much of my success to my great mother Virginia Chi.”

She advises other young women that want to get into aviation to go outside and learn how to work with their hands.

“Get off of those computer things…get outside! Know how to work with the houses outside. Learn to use tools.” she said.