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Michael Collins (astronaut)

From Academic Kids

Michael Collins (born October 31, 1930) was an astronaut in the Gemini and Apollo space programs. He was born in Rome, Italy. He attended St. Albans School in his youth.

Collins joined NASA as part of the third astronaut group in 1963, and made his first spaceflight on Gemini 10. On this flight he and his shipmate John Young set a new record for the highest flight, 475 miles above the Earth. Collins made two spacewalks on this mission.

Collins was originally scheduled to fly on what would be Apollo 8 with Frank Borman and William Anders, but he suffered a bone spur in his spine - even after corrective surgery, he was temporarily grounded, and replaced by Jim Lovell on Apollo 8. In July 1969, he flew as command module pilot of Apollo 11, which made the first lunar landing. Collins orbited the Moon in the CSM "Columbia", while his colleagues Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed and walked on the lunar surface. He was described, at that time, as "the loneliest person on or off the planet" - when the Command Module was on the opposite side of the moon, he was at least two thousand miles away from his fellow astronauts, and over two hundred thousand from the rest of the population back on Earth.

From 1971 to 1978, Collins was the Director of the National Air and Space Museum. He resigned that post in April 1978 to become the Undersecretary of the Smithsonian Institution, a post he held until 1980.

He wrote a book, Carrying the Fire [ISBN 1885283148], about his experiences as an astronaut.

There is a small crater on the Moon near the Apollo 11 landing site that is named in his honor.

He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and asteroid 6471 is named in his honor.

In the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, Collins was played by Cary Elwes.

External links

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