When we think about the first-ever moon mission, usually we think about two names, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. But there was another man who was the part of Apollo 11 mission, the command module pilot Michael Collins has died at age 90
Collins earned the nickname “loneliest man in history, as in Apollo mission, he lost his contact with his crewmates and with NASA, as Collie’s line of communication blocked as he passed over the moon’s far side.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Collins said in 2016. “The fact that it was quite—silent, utterly—was good, not bad. It gave me some time off of mission control telling me to do this and that.”
After 48 minutes cut off, Colonel Collins emerged from the moon’s far side. “My windows suddenly flash full of sunlight as Columbia swings around into the dawn,” he wrote. “The moon appears quickly, dark, gray, and craggy.”
Colonel Collins was born in 1930 in Rome to a US army officer serving as a military attaché there. Collins went on to become a fighter pilot and test pilot with the air force. Later, Colonel Collins applied to NASA and was selected to be an astronaut in 1963. Collins’ first spaceflight was on the Gemini 10 mission.
Colonel Collins left NASA after six months of Apollo 11. He served as assistant secretary of state for public affairs and was founding director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum