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Space & Astronomy

Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins has died

By T.K. Randall
April 30, 2021 · Comment icon 4 comments

Michael Collins ( 1930 - 2021 ) Image Credit: NASA
Collins was one of the three astronauts who flew to the Moon during the historic Apollo 11 mission in 1969.
After being selected for NASA's third group of 14 astronauts in 1963, Collins first flew into space as part of the Gemini program and would have flown to the Moon as part of the Apollo 8 mission in 1968 if it hadn't been for a back operation which precluded him from going.

Perhaps fortuitously, this delay meant that he would end up being assigned to pilot the command module for Apollo 11 - the most historic space mission in human history.

Collins, alongside his crewmates Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, soared into the heavens atop a giant Saturn V rocket on July 16th, 1969 and headed towards the Moon.

Unlike his companions however, he stayed behind in the command module during the actual Moon landing, which saw him being dubbed "the most solitary human in existence" as he orbited alone some 240,000 miles from home - the first person to ever experience such a disconnect from the rest of the human race.
He later claimed that he had never felt lonely and stressed that his greatest fear was Aldrin and Armstrong becoming stranded on the Moon, forcing him to return to Earth alone.

Fortunately however his companions made it back safe and after returning to Earth, all three men were hailed as celebrities, with the success of Apollo 11 cementing their names in the history books.

After retiring from the space program, Collins took on a number of roles including Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and director of the National Air and Space Museum.

He died of cancer on April 18th, 2021 at the age of 90.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (4)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Manwon Lender 3 years ago
Michael Collins (October 31, 1930 – April 28, 2021) was an American astronaut who flew the Apollo 11 command module Columbia around the Moon in 1969 while his crewmates, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, made the first crewed landing on the surface. He was also a test pilot and major general in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Collins graduated from the United States Military Academy with the Class of 1952. He joined the United States Air Force, and flew F-86 Sabre fighters at Chambley-Bussières Air Base, France. He was accepted into the U.S. Air Force Experimental Flig... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by jethrofloyd 3 years ago
Jethro Tull - For Michael Collins Jeffrey and Me   Watery eyes of the last sighing seconds Blue reflections mute and dim Beckon tearful child of wonder To repentance of the sin And the blind and lusty lovers Of the great eternal lie Go on believing nothing Since something has to die And the ape's curiosity Money power wins And the yellow, soft mountains Move under him I'm with you L.E.M Though it's a shame that it had to be you The mother ship Is just a blip from your trip made for two I'm with you boys So please employ just a little extra care It's on my mind I'm left behind when I should ha... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by MysteryMike 3 years ago
90 is a good way to go and a long nice life. May he rest in peace. Condolences to his loved ones.
Comment icon #4 Posted by third_eye 3 years ago
R. I. P ~

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