The world lost another Apollo astronaut who took people to the moon between 1968 and 1972. This time it was Michael Collins, a member of the crew, who made the first manned landing on the Apollo 11 mission. He was 90 years old and died after battling cancer.
Collins had travel companions Neil Armstrong (1930-2012) and Buzz Aldrin (1930-), but unlike his colleagues, he stayed aboard the Columbia command module in lunar orbit all the time while the Eagle lunar module came to the surface with Neil and Buzz could run on the surface on that historic July 20, 1969.
This was Collins’s second space flight, who had previously been John Young’s crew member on the Gemini 10 mission.
Collins was born on October 31, 1930 in Rome, Italy (he was the son of an American army officer stationed there at the time) and also pursued a military career, but with the US Air Force. He was selected as a third-class astronaut at NASA in 1963, as part of the team that had to fly on Apollo missions.
After his visit to lunar orbit, he was invited to serve as director of the public affairs bureau of the United States Department of Public Affairs, a role he held for two years between 1969 and 1971. But it wasn’t his beach, Collins asked.Instead, he was director of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, where he stayed until 1978.
The former astronaut also spent some time in the aerospace industry, starting a consulting firm in 1985. In parallel, he has always upheld space activism and made the importance of space exploration known in books, articles and public appearances.
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