Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins Dead at 90

michael collins

As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, astronaut Michael Collins sat alone in the command module in orbit. It earned him the title of the “loneliest man in humanity.” He was considered the “forgotten astronaut.” He died on April 28 from cancer at the age of 90, leaving only Buzz Aldrin left of the three man crew of Apollo 11. (Fox) (Daily Wire)

michael collins
The crew of Apollo 11: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin

Of his time alone in the module on the far side of the moon in total darkness with no radio contact, he once said “The fact that I was … out of communications, rather than that being a fear, that was a joy because I got Mission Control to shut up for a little while. Every once in a while.”  A great sense of humor.

The family of Michael Collins issued this statement:

We regret to share that our beloved father and grandfather passed away today, after a valiant battle with cancer,” the statement said. “He spent his final days peacefully, with his family by his side. Mike always faced the challenges of life with grace and humility and faced this, his final challenge in the same way. We will miss him terribly. Yet we also know how lucky Mike felt to have lived the life he did. We will honor his wish to mourn, not celebrate, that life. Please join us in fondly remembering his sharp wit, his quiet sense of purpose, and his wise perspective, gained from looking back at Earth from the vantage of space and gazing across calm waters from the deck of his fishing boat.

Family of Michael Collins

Michael Collins was born in Rome, Italy, where his father, a Major General, was stationed at the time. He came from a military family in which his father and brother were Army generals, and his uncle was Army Chief of Staff.

Collins graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and through his career logged 4,200 hours of flight time as a fighter pilot and experimental test pilot. He eventually served as a Major General himself. He was the 4th person to conduct a Space Walk during Gemini 10 in 1966. That was his first space mission, the second was Apollo 11.

Collins and about 80% of his peers were “gung-ho,” he recalled. NASA and the idea of the Mercury and Gemini programs, which set up for the Apollo program, were attractive, and the space program seemed like a promotion. The other 20% would rather fly and test new airplanes for the Air Force rather than getting “locked up in a capsule and shot off like a round of ammunition,” Collins said.

Michael Collins Obit (CNN)

He left NASA in 1970, and held many different positions with institutions in the aerospace industry. He also wrote three books: 1974 “Carrying the Fire,” 1976 “Flying to the Moon and Other Strange Places,” and 1988 “Liftoff: The Story of America’s Adventure in Space.” He was an adventurer with a unique perspective and sense of humor to match. The Space program may be a little less introspective without him.

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As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, astronaut Michael Collins sat alone in the command module in orbit. It earned him the title of the “loneliest man in humanity.” He was considered the “forgotten astronaut.” He died on April 28 from cancer at the age of 90, leaving only Buzz Aldrin left of the three man crew of Apollo 11. (Fox) (Daily Wire)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screenshot-2021-04-28-13.08.57.png
Michael Collins- Twitter photo

Of his time alone in the module on the far side of the moon in total darkness with no radio contact, he once said “The fact that I was … out of communications, rather than that being a fear, that was a joy because I got Mission Control to shut up for a little while. Every once in a while.”  A great sense of humor.

The family of Michael Collins issued this statement:

We regret to share that our beloved father and grandfather passed away today, after a valiant battle with cancer,” the statement said. “He spent his final days peacefully, with his family by his side. Mike always faced the challenges of life with grace and humility and faced this, his final challenge in the same way. We will miss him terribly. Yet we also know how lucky Mike felt to have lived the life he did. We will honor his wish to mourn, not celebrate, that life. Please join us in fondly remembering his sharp wit, his quiet sense of purpose, and his wise perspective, gained from looking back at Earth from the vantage of space and gazing across calm waters from the deck of his fishing boat.Family of Michael Collins

Michael Collins was born in Rome, Italy, where his father, a Major General, was stationed at the time. He came from a military family in which his father and brother were Army generals, and his uncle was Army Chief of Staff.

Collins graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and through his career logged 4,200 hours of flight time as a fighter pilot and experimental test pilot. He eventually served as a Major General himself. He was the 4th person to conduct a Space Walk during Gemini 10 in 1966. That was his first space mission, the second was Apollo 11.

Collins and about 80% of his peers were “gung-ho,” he recalled. NASA and the idea of the Mercury and Gemini programs, which set up for the Apollo program, were attractive, and the space program seemed like a promotion. The other 20% would rather fly and test new airplanes for the Air Force rather than getting “locked up in a capsule and shot off like a round of ammunition,” Collins said.Michael Collins Obit

He left NASA in 1970, and held many different positions with institutions in the aerospace industry. He also wrote three books: 1974 “Carrying the Fire,” 1976 “Flying to the Moon and Other Strange Places,” and 1988 “Liftoff: The Story of America’s Adventure in Space.” He was an adventurer with a unique perspective and sense of humor to match. The Space program may be a little less introspective without him.

*****

Featured photo: NASA photo of the Apollo 11 crew

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