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Michael Collins Astronaut Apollo 11 pilot dead of cancer

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Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins dies at 90 Wed, 28 Apr 2021 20:00:00 +0100-Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, who orbited the moon alone while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made their historic first steps on the lunar surface, died …

Astronaut Michael Collins, Apollo 11 pilot, dead of cancer

Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, who orbited the moon alone while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made their historic first steps on the lunar surface, died Wednesday. He was 90.

Collins died of cancer in Naples, Florida. “Mike always faced the challenges of life with grace and humility, and faced this, his final challenge, in the same way,” his family said in a statement.

Collins was part of the three-man Apollo 11 crew that in 1969 effectively ended the space race between the United States and Russia and fulfilled President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to reach the moon by the end of the 1960s.

Though he some 238,000 miles to the moon and came within 69 miles, Collins never set foot on the lunar surface like his crewmates Aldrin and Armstrong, who died in 2012. None of the men flew in space after the Apollo 11 mission.

“It’s human nature to stretch, to go, to see, to understand,” Collins said on the 10th anniversary of the moon landing in 1979. “Exploration is not a choice really — it’s an imperative, and it’s simply a matter of timing as to when the option is exercised.”

Collins was later the director of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

“Michael Collins wrote and helped tell the story of our nation’s remarkable accomplishments in space,” said President Joe Biden in a statement, noting that Collins “demanded that everyone call him, simply, Mike.”

Collins spent the eight-day Apollo 11 mission piloting the command module. While Armstrong and Aldrin descended to the moon’s surface in the lunar lander, Eagle, Collins remained alone in the command module, Columbia.

“I guess you’re about the only person around that doesn’t have TV coverage of the scene,” Mission Control radioed Collins after the landing.

“That’s all right. I don’t mind a bit,” he responded.

Collins was alone for nearly 28 hours before Armstrong and Aldrin finished their tasks on the moon’s surface and lifted off in the lunar lander. Collins was responsible for re-docking the two spacecraft before the men could begin heading back to Earth. Had something gone wrong and Aldrin and Armstrong been stuck on the moon’s surface — a real fear — Collins would have returned to Earth alone.

Though he was frequently asked if he regretted not landing on the moon, that was never an option for Collins, at least not on Apollo 11. Collins’ specialty was as a command module pilot, a job he compared to being the base-camp operator on a mountain climbing expedition. As a result, it meant he wasn’t considered to take part in the July 20, 1969, landing.

“I know that I would be a liar or a fool if I said that I have the best of the three Apollo 11 seats, but I can say with truth and equanimity that I am perfectly satisfied with the one I have,” he wrote in his 1974 autobiography, “Carrying the Fire.” “This venture has been structured for three men, and I consider my third to be as necessary as either of the other two.”

Aldrin, the remaining Apollo 11 astronaut, tweeted a picture Wednesday of the three crewmates laughing, saying: “Dear Mike, Wherever you have been or will be, you will always have the Fire to Carry us deftly to new heights and to the future.”

Collins was born in Rome on Halloween 1930. His parents were Virginia Collins and U.S. Army Maj. Gen. James L. Collins. After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy in 1952, a year behind Aldrin, Collins joined the Air Force, where he became a fighter pilot and test pilot.

John Glenn’s 1962 flight making him the first American to orbit the Earth persuaded Collins to apply to NASA. He was accepted on his second try, in 1963, as part of the third group of astronauts selected. Collins’ first mission was 1966's Gemini 10, one of the two-man missions made in preparation for flights to the moon.

Along with John Young, Collins practiced necessary for a moon landing and performed a spacewalk during the three-day mission. During the spacewalk, he famously lost a camera, which is frequently cited as one of the items of “space junk” orbiting Earth.

On Jan. 9, 1969, NASA announced that Collins, Armstrong and Aldrin would be on the crew of Apollo 11, the United States’ first moon landing attempt. Of his fellow Apollo 11 astronauts, Collins said they were: “Smart as hell, both of them, competent and experienced, each in his own way.” Still, Collins called the group “amiable strangers” because the trio never developed as intense a bond as other crews.

“We were all business. We were all hard work. And we felt the weight of the world upon us,” Collins said in 2019.

Of the three, Collins was the acknowledged jokester. Aldrin called him the “easygoing guy who brought levity into things.” In summarizing Kennedy’s famous challenge to go to the moon, for example, Collins later said: “It was beautiful in its simplicity. Do what? Moon. When? End of decade.”

The Apollo 11 crew trained for just six months before launching on July 16, 1969, from Florida's Kennedy Space Center. The mission insignia — an eagle landing on the moon with an olive branch in its talons — was largely Collins’ creation.

Collins said one of the things that struck him most was the way the Earth looked from space — peaceful and serene but also delicate.

“As I look back on Apollo 11, I more and more am attracted to my recollection, not of the moon, but of the Earth. Tiny, little Earth in its little black velvet background,” Collins said while marking the mission's 50th anniversary in 2019.

In contrast, he said the moon seemed almost hostile. In fact, it was considered so hostile that on their return, Collins, Armstrong and Aldrin all spent several days in a quarantine trailer. They received visitors, including President Richard Nixon, staring through a window.

When the group was finally deemed safe, they went on a world tour, visiting 25 countries in just over five weeks.

Collins often remarked that he was surprised that everywhere they went people didn’t say “Well, you Americans finally did it.” Instead, they said, “Well, we finally did it,” meaning “we” humans.

Early on, Collins said Apollo 11 would be his last mission, though officials at NASA wanted him to continue flying. Collins soon left NASA and joined the State Department as assistant secretary for public affairs. Though he enjoyed the people he later wrote that “long hours in Washington flying a great mahogany desk” didn’t suit him.

After about a year, he left and joined the Smithsonian Institution. There, he led a team responsible for planning and opening the National Air and Space Museum. The Apollo 11 capsule is in the museum's collection along with many of Collins’ personal items from that mission, including his toothbrush, razor and a tube of Old Spice shaving cream.

“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,” acting NASA administrator Steve Jurczyk said in a statement.

Collins is survived by two daughters and grandchildren. He died on the 64th anniversary of his wedding to Patricia Finnegan Collins, who died in 2014.

Along with his autobiography, Collins wrote a book on his experience for younger readers, “Flying to the Moon: An Astronaut’s Story.” In a 1994 preface to the book, Collins urged more spending on space exploration and on an astronaut mission to Mars.

“I am too old to fly to Mars, and I regret that. But I still think I have been very, very lucky,” he wrote. “I was born in the days of biplanes and Buck Rogers, learned to fly in the early jets, and hit my peak when moon rockets came along. That’s hard to beat.”

___

AP writers Marcia Dunn and Seth Borenstein contributed.

Jessica Gresko, The Associated Press


قراءة المزيد

Astronaut Michael Collins, Apollo 11 pilot, dead of cancer Wed, 28 Apr 2021 20:00:00 +0100-Michael Collins stayed in orbit as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon in 1969.

Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins dies at 90

image captionMichael Collins stayed in lunar orbit as his colleagues Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon

Michael Collins – one of the three crew members of the first manned mission to the Moon, Apollo 11 in 1969 – has died aged 90, his family say.

He died on Wednesday after “a valiant battle with cancer. He spent his final days peacefully, with his family by his side,” they said.

Collins had stayed in lunar orbit as his colleagues Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon.

Aldrin, 91, is now the only surviving member of the mission.

Paying tribute to Collins, Aldrin wrote in a tweet: “Dear Mike, Wherever you have been or will be, you will always have the Fire to Carry us deftly to new heights and to the future. We will miss you. May you Rest In Peace.”

“We will miss him terribly. Yet we also know how lucky Mike felt to have lived the life he did.

“We will honour his wish for us to celebrate, not mourn, that life.”

media captionApollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins on Moon mission

On 16 July 2019, Collins visited Florida's Kennedy Space Center – the site where the mission had set off exactly 50 years earlier.

Speaking at launchpad 39A – where the crew's rocket began the historic mission – he described how he felt during take-off.

“The shockwave from the rocket power hits you,” Collins told Nasa TV. “Your whole body is shaking. This gives you an entirely… different concept of what power really means.”

“You're suspended in the cockpit… as you lift off,” he continued. “From then on it's a quieter, more rational, silent ride all the way to the Moon.

“We crew felt the weight of the world on our shoulders, we knew that everyone would be looking at us, friend or foe.”

By Paul Rincon, Science editor, BBC News website

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin garnered most of the attention for the historic first Moon landing in 1969.

But their crewmate, Michael Collins, was just as important for the success of the mission.

As the command module pilot, Collins stayed in lunar orbit while Neil and Buzz bounded across the surface. But he performed crucial manoeuvres in space that were needed to get to the Moon.

He was sanguine about others getting the glory: “I certainly thought that I did not have the best seat of the three,” he said. “But I can say in all honesty, I was thrilled with the seat that I did have.”

After leaving Nasa, he had a brief spell in politics, but later retired to Florida, where he painted and wrote.

Despite joining Twitter in 2019, at the age of 88, he admitted that he never really enjoyed the spotlight of public life.

But his name will live on, as a new generation of astronauts prepares to return to the Moon in the next few years, following the trail blazed by Collins and the other pioneers of Apollo.

On 16 July 1969, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins were strapped into their Apollo spacecraft on top of the vast Saturn V rocket and were propelled into orbit in just over 11 minutes.

Four days later, Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the lunar surface. Collins remained in the command module throughout the mission.

Armstrong's words, beamed to the world by TV, entered history: “That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

image captionUS astronaut Buzz Aldrin pictured on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission

About 400,000 people worked on the programme, at a cost at the time of $25bn.

The crew returned to Earth and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 24 July.

An estimated 650 million people worldwide watched the Moon landing. For the US, the achievement helped it demonstrate its power to a world audience.

image captionMichael Collins stayed in lunar orbit as his colleagues Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon

Michael Collins – one of the three crew members of the first manned mission to the Moon, Apollo 11 in 1969 – has died aged 90, his family say.

He died on Wednesday after “a valiant battle with cancer. He spent his final days peacefully, with his family by his side,” they said.

Collins had stayed in lunar orbit as his colleagues Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon.

Aldrin, 91, is now the only surviving member of the mission.

Paying tribute to Collins, Aldrin wrote in a tweet: “Dear Mike, Wherever you have been or will be, you will always have the Fire to Carry us deftly to new heights and to the future. We will miss you. May you Rest In Peace.”

“We will miss him terribly. Yet we also know how lucky Mike felt to have lived the life he did.

“We will honour his wish for us to celebrate, not mourn, that life.”

media captionApollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins on Moon mission

On 16 July 2019, Collins visited Florida's Kennedy Space Center – the site where the mission had set off exactly 50 years earlier.

Speaking at launchpad 39A – where the crew's rocket began the historic mission – he described how he felt during take-off.

“The shockwave from the rocket power hits you,” Collins told Nasa TV. “Your whole body is shaking. This gives you an entirely… different concept of what power really means.”

“You're suspended in the cockpit… as you lift off,” he continued. “From then on it's a quieter, more rational, silent ride all the way to the Moon.

“We crew felt the weight of the world on our shoulders, we knew that everyone would be looking at us, friend or foe.”

By Paul Rincon, Science editor, BBC News website

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin garnered most of the attention for the historic first Moon landing in 1969.

But their crewmate, Michael Collins, was just as important for the success of the mission.

As the command module pilot, Collins stayed in lunar orbit while Neil and Buzz bounded across the surface. But he performed crucial manoeuvres in space that were needed to get to the Moon.

He was sanguine about others getting the glory: “I certainly thought that I did not have the best seat of the three,” he said. “But I can say in all honesty, I was thrilled with the seat that I did have.”

After leaving Nasa, he had a brief spell in politics, but later retired to Florida, where he painted and wrote.

Despite joining Twitter in 2019, at the age of 88, he admitted that he never really enjoyed the spotlight of public life.

But his name will live on, as a new generation of astronauts prepares to return to the Moon in the next few years, following the trail blazed by Collins and the other pioneers of Apollo.

On 16 July 1969, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins were strapped into their Apollo spacecraft on top of the vast Saturn V rocket and were propelled into orbit in just over 11 minutes.

Four days later, Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the lunar surface. Collins remained in the command module throughout the mission.

Armstrong's words, beamed to the world by TV, entered history: “That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

image captionUS astronaut Buzz Aldrin pictured on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission

About 400,000 people worked on the programme, at a cost at the time of $25bn.

The crew returned to Earth and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 24 July.

An estimated 650 million people worldwide watched the Moon landing. For the US, the achievement helped it demonstrate its power to a world audience.


قراءة المزيد
– April 28, 2021
Michael Collins Astronaut Apollo 11 pilot dead of cancer
Buzz Aldrin, michael collins astronaut