Born In: Rome, Kingdom of Italy
Michael Collins was one of the three astronauts, who worked on the ‘Apollo 11’ mission, which made the first lunar landing, one of the biggest events in history of mankind. While his colleagues, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the moon, Collins was the command module pilot of the mission, who orbited around the moon. After an initial rejection, Collins was chosen by NASA to be a part of the ‘Astronaut Group 3’. His first spaceflight assignment was the ‘Gemini 10’ mission, during which he performed the spacewalk. Michael Collins was an army man, before he joined NASA. He graduated from the United States Military Academy, after which he joined the United States Air Force and was commissioned to the Chambley-Bussieres Air Base, France. He received numerous honours and decorations including, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Collier Trophy, the Hubbard Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom among many others. After he retired from NASA, he became Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs in the Department of State. He later established his own consulting business.
Also Known As: Mike Collins
Died At Age: 90
Spouse/Ex-: Patricia M. Finnegan
father: James Lawton Collins
mother: Virginia Stewart Collins
siblings: James Lawton Collins
children: Ann Collins, Kate Collins, Michael Collins
Born Country: Italy
Height: 1.78 m
place of death: Naples, Florida, U.S.
City: Rome, Italy
education: United States Military Academy, Harvard Business School, St. Albans School
Michael Collins was trained at the T-6 Texan in Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, San Marcos Air Force Base and James Connally Air Force Base, Texas.
In June 1954, Collins was commissioned to the Chaumont-Semoutiers Air Base, France, the front-line air base for the United States Air Force. Once, during a NATO exercise, his plane caught fire and he had to be rescued.
In 1956, Michael Collins was commissioned to work in West Germany owning the Hungarian Revolution, also known as the Hungarian Uprising, which took place that year.
In 1962, John Glenn’s Mercury Atlas 6 flight that circled the Earth in 90 minutes inspired him so much that he decided to become an astronaut. Michael Collins applied to NASA for the second group of astronauts but was rejected.
In May 1963, he resumed his job as a fighter operator and in June that year when NASA called in for astronaut applications, he applied. He was selected for ‘Astronaut Group 3’ by NASA.
After he completed his ‘Gemini 7’ assignment, he was assigned to work as a prime crew member in ‘Gemini 10’ along with John Young. After much training, he performed a spacewalk on the assignment.
Michael Collins was the backup crew for the second manned Apollo flight but this was cancelled as it was similar to the previous Apollo 1 mission. After the cancellation, the crew were reassigned and he was promoted to the rank of command module pilot.
Michael became the under secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and in 1980, he was appointed as the Vice President of LTV Aerospace. In 1985, he also founded his own consulting firm, Michael Collins Associates.
In his lifetime, he flew into the space twice. His first spaceflight was for Gemini 10 wherein he performed two rendezvous with different spacecrafts. His second spaceflight was for Apollo 11, wherein he was command module pilot. It was the first manned landing on the lunar surface. While he orbited the moon, his fellow space colleagues Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon.
Michael Collins was awarded the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross, Congressional Gold Medal, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Air Force Command Pilot Astronaut Wings and Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In 1957, Collins married Patricia M. Finnegan, whom he met in an officer’s mess. The couple had three children together.
In 1974, his autobiographical book, ‘Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys' was published. He also authored few books namely, ‘Liftoff: The Story of America's Adventure in Space’, ‘Mission to Mars’ and ‘Flying to the Moon and Other Strange Places’.
He was a Trustee of the National Geographic Society for a long time. He also served as Trustee Emeritus.
In 2007, Michael Collins was seen in the documentary film, ‘In the Shadow of the Moon’. He also made a contribution to a book of the same name.
Michael Collins died on April 28, 2021, of cancer, at the age of 90, at his home in Naples, Florida.
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