Here’s a look at the life of astronaut Michael Collins.
Birth date: October 31, 1930
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Birth name: Michael Collins
Father: James Lawton Collins, a US Army Major General
Mother: Virginia (Stewart) Collins
Marriage: Patricia M. (Finnegan) Collins (April 28, 1957-April 19, 2014, her death)
Children: Michael, Ann and Kathleen
Education: United States Military Academy at West Point, B.S.,1952; Harvard University, Advanced Management Program, 1974
Military Service: US Air Force, 1952-1970, Major General
Collins completed two space flights during his career, logging 266 hours in space – 1 hour and 27 minutes of this was spacewalking.
Says he believes that extraterrestrials do exist, telling the New York Daily News in 1999: “It seems to me the height of arrogance to say that our little stupid sun off in one obscure corner of an odd galaxy called the Milky Way should be the only one in the whole universe capable of developing what we sometimes refer to as intelligent life.”
1960-1963 – Navy test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base.
October 17, 1963 – Collins is part of the third group of men selected by NASA to be astronauts.
July 18-21, 1966 – Part of the Gemini 10 2-man crew, with John Young. The mission lasts almost three days and completes 43 orbits of Earth. Gemini 10 docks with another ship and Collins becomes the third American to walk in space.
July 16-July 24, 1969 – Command Module Pilot of the Apollo 11 mission. He remains on board the Columbia in lunar orbit while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin explore the Moon’s surface on July 20.
1969 – Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
1970 – Retires from NASA.
1970-1971 – Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.
1971-1978 – Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.
1980-1985 – Vice President, LTV Aerospace & Defense Company.
1985 – Founds Michael Collins Associates, a Washington, DC aerospace consulting firm, and is inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
March 19, 1993 – Is inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame.
July 20, 1994 – Joins President Bill Clinton and other astronauts at a White House ceremony to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.
September 7, 2007 – “In the Shadow of the Moon,” a documentary on the Apollo 11 mission is released.
November 16, 2011 – Receives the Congressional Gold Medal for Distinguished Astronauts along with Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and John Glenn.
July 22, 2014 – Meets with President Barack Obama and Buzz Aldrin at the White House to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.