Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins has died at age 90

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CNN 28 April, 2021 - 01:22pm 40 views

When did Michael Collins Astronaut die?

On July 20, 1969, eight years after President John F. Kennedy pledged to land a man on the lunar surface and return him safely to Earth, astronaut Michael Collins sat alone in the command module Columbia. Washington PostMichael Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut, dies at 90

Astronauts and the world mourn death of Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins

Space.com 28 April, 2021 - 01:38pm

Collins was dubbed "the forgotten astronaut," because he didn't walk on the moon like his two Apollo 11 crewmates, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, did. But Collins' impact on spaceflight and the world is undoubted. That impact can be seen clearly in how people from all over, including other astronauts, are reacting to the news of his passing.

Related: Michael Collins, Apollo 11 command module pilot

"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. #Apollo11," Aldrin tweeted after the news was made public.  

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. #Apollo11 pic.twitter.com/q4sJjFdvf8April 28, 2021

"Fire to Carry" is a reference to Collins' book "Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys," which was released in 1974 and continues to be a favorite of many.  

"There is no doubt he inspired a new generation of scientists, engineers, test pilots and astronauts," Jurczyk added. "NASA mourns the loss of this accomplished pilot and astronaut, a friend of all who seek to push the envelope of human potential ... his spirit will go with us as we venture toward farther horizons."

Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly shared some photos of Collins on Twitter, including a photo of the two speaking, along with the sentiment: "Michael Collins as Command Module Pilot for #Apollo11 was the best spaceflight assignment ever made. His grace, humility & professionalism made him perfect for the historic role and cemented his legacy. I enjoyed the few moments we shared together. #RIP, @AstroMCollins

Michael Collins as Command Module Pilot for #Apollo11 was the best spaceflight assignment ever made. His grace, humility & professionalism made him perfect for the historic role and cemented his legacy. I enjoyed the few moments we shared together. #RIP, @AstroMCollins. pic.twitter.com/SpxZ3Ua80iApril 28, 2021

Current NASA astronaut Col. Mike Fincke shared a photo of himself withCollins. "Ad Astra Mike Collins—you are our inspiration. We will continue Carrying the Fire!!" Fincke wrote.

Ad Astra Mike Collins- you are our inspiration. We will continue Carrying the Fire!! (Image of Mike and me at MIT in 2014) https://t.co/bRit9nXXxf pic.twitter.com/GDMreYERWRApril 28, 2021

Retired NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski also publicly commented on Collins' passing, tweeting, "Saddened by the news of Michael Collins' passing — a great human being, and a bold-but-humble hero. His book #CarryingTheFire is probably the best space memoir ever written, and inspires me to this day." 

Saddened by the news of Michael Collins' passing - a great human being, and a bold-but-humble hero. His book #CarryingTheFire is probably the best space memoir ever written, and inspires me to this day. https://t.co/Rr2hQuivY4April 28, 2021

Another retired NASA astronaut, Garrett Reisman, also spoke online about Collins. "I cherish the tales he told," Reisman said. 

I felt a sudden sad pang in my gut when I heard that we lost Apollo 11 astronaut @AstroMCollins I'll never forget when he spoke at our astronaut reunion with such humility, wit and humor. I cherish the tales he told that night of his Gemini spacewalk & post-Apollo 11 world tour. https://t.co/HQAsdF0dwbApril 28, 2021

Pamela Melroy, a former NASA astronaut who was recently nominated for NASA deputy administrator, shared her sadness about Collins' death. 

"So, so sad at the passing of my favorite astronaut @AstroMCollins A hero just outside the spotlight. We will continue Carrying the Fire, Mike," Melroy tweeted.

So, so sad at the passing of my favorite astronaut @AstroMCollins A hero just outside the spotlight. We will continue Carrying the Fire, Mike.April 28, 2021

Particle physicist and science communicator Brian Cox was also saddened by the news, tweeting "Ah no. R.I.P. Michael Collins. Our links with Apollo are fading away so fast."

Ah no. R.I.P. Michael Collins. Our links with Apollo are fading away so fast. https://t.co/IHZV6Wc6AKApril 28, 2021

Rep. Don Beyer, who serves as the U.S. Representative for Virginia's 8th congressional district, also spoke on Twitter about Collins. "Incredibly sad news, we've lost Michael Collins, pilot of the Apollo 11 command module that landed the first humans on the Moon. Before serving as Gemini and Apollo astronaut he was an Air Force pilot; he later worked for NASA and was Director of @airandspace. An all time great," Beyer said. 

Incredibly sad news, we've lost Michael Collins, pilot of the Apollo 11 command module that landed the first humans on the Moon. Before serving as Gemini and Apollo astronaut he was an Air Force pilot; he later worked for NASA and was Director of @airandspace.An all time great. https://t.co/qXmJhQQH5JApril 28, 2021

Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides, co-creator of Yuri's Night and founder of SpaceKind, celebrated Collins' life and legacy, sharing a photo of the two together with the words, "Celebrating the incredible life of Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins. March 20, 2019 I had the honor to sit down with him and ask questions for an archival project. I always loved his style, his leadership on the creation of the @airandspace museum & his book #carryingthefire."

Celebrating the incredible life of Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins. March 20, 2019 I had the honor to sit down with him and ask questions for an archival project. I always loved his style, his leadership on the creation of the @airandspace museum & his book #carryingthefire pic.twitter.com/uWylgjpaynApril 28, 2021

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Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins dies at 90

BBC News 28 April, 2021 - 01:31pm

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.

In a statement, the Collins family said that "Mike always faced the challenges of life with grace and humility, and faced this, his final challenge, 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 honour his wish for us to celebrate, not mourn, that life."

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."

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."

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.

There are fears the real number is even higher, as hospitals continue to turn dying patients away.

15 sayings from around the world

Michael Collins

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