Gemini, Apollo Astronaut, Author Michael Collins Passes Away at 90
Kennedy Space Center, Florida; April 28, 2021 -- NASA announced today the passing of Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins at the age of 90 after a battle with cancer. Michael Collins was the Command Module Pilot for Apollo 11 and remained in orbit above the moon while fellow astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed and were the first two humans to walk on the moon. Collins was a United States Air Force pilot and flew the Gemini 10 mission with John Young.
While NASA remembers the life and passing of Michael Collins, Kennedy Space Center witnessed the arrival and offloading of the flight ready Space Launch System core booster designed to launch the Orion space capsule which will carry astronauts back to the moon.
The following is a statement from acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk on the passing of Michael Collins:
Today the nation lost a true pioneer and lifelong advocate for exploration in astronaut Michael Collins. As pilot of the Apollo 11 command module – some called him ‘the loneliest man in history’ – while his colleagues walked on the Moon for the first time, he helped our nation achieve a defining milestone. He also distinguished himself in the Gemini Program and as an Air Force pilot.
Michael remained a tireless promoter of space. ‘Exploration is not a choice, really, it’s an imperative,’ he said. Intensely thoughtful about his experience in orbit, he added, ‘What would be worth recording is what kind of civilization we Earthlings created and whether or not we ventured out into other parts of the galaxy.’
His own signature accomplishments, his writings about his experiences, and his leadership of the National Air and Space Museum helped gain wide exposure for the work of all the men and women who have helped our nation push itself to greatness in aviation and space. There is no doubt he inspired a new generation of scientists, engineers, test pilots, and astronauts.
NASA mourns the loss of this accomplished pilot and astronaut, a friend of all who seek to push the envelope of human potential. Whether his work was behind the scenes or on full view, his legacy will always be as one of the leaders who took America's first steps into the cosmos. And his spirit will go with us as we venture toward farther horizons.”
The following is a statement from the Collins family:
We regret to share that our beloved father and grandfather passed away today, after a valiant battle with cancer. 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 for us to celebrate, not mourn, that life. Please join us in fondly and joyfully remembering his sharp wit, his quiet sense of purpose, and his wise perspective, gained both from looking back at Earth from the vantage of space and gazing across calm waters from the deck of his fishing boat.
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