Michael Collins: America’s Great Astronaut

Michael Collins: America’s Great Astronaut 

Michael Collins: America’s Great Astronaut : “Just Call Me Mike” Michael Collins, 31 Oct 1930—28 April 2021

“It’s human nature to stretch, to go, to see, to understand. Exploration is not a choice, really; it’s an imperative.”

— Michael Collins, 1979

American legend and icon, test pilot, Gemini and Apollo pioneer General Michael Collins died today at age 90. Astronaut & General Collins lived a life amazingly expansive and accomplished, his life is beyond imagination.

When he was referred to as “General Collins,” he was famous for responding, “Just call me Mike.” 

This was a man who was so legendary in the aviation community, that he caused rooms he entered to silence due to the respect those had for him and the awe of being in his presence. 

Collins is also remembered as the writer of one of the most respected astronaut autobiographies, 1974’s “Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journeys” (Collins’ Gemini 10 colleague Astronaut John Young joked that his book should havebeen called “Carrying the Hose”).

Collins in his own words from “Carrying the Fire”: 

“The moon I have known all my life, that two‐dimensional, small yellow disk in the sky, has gone away somewhere, to be replaced by the most awesome sphere I have ever seen. To begin with it is huge, completely filling our window. Second, it is three‐dimensional. The belly of it bulges out towards us in such pronounced fashion that I almost feel I can reach out and touch it… The vague reddish‐yellow of the sun’s corona, the blanched white of earthshine, and the pure black of the starstudded surrounding sky all combine to cast a bluish glow over the moon. This cool, magnificent sphere hangs there ominously, a formidable presence without sound or motion, issuing us no invitation to invade its domain. Neil [Armstrong, Apollo 11’s commander] sums it up: ‘It’s a view worth the price of the trip.’ And somewhat scary too although no one says that.”

Family Statement on the Death of Astronaut Michael Collins

We regret to share that our beloved father and grandfather passed away today after a brave battle with cancer. Spent his last days in peace, with his family by his side. Mike always faced life’s challenges with grace and humility, and faced this, his ultimate challenge, in the same way. We will miss him terribly. However, we also know how lucky Mike felt to have lived the life he did. We will honor her desire to celebrate, not cry, that life. Please join us in the memory with affection and joy of your sharp ingenuity, your silent sense of purpose and your wise perspective, gained so much from looking back at the Earth from the advantage of space and looking through calm waters from the cover of your fishing boat.

Our family asks for privacy during this difficult time. Details on services will be coming up.

American astronaut Michael Collins, who as pilot of the Apollo 11 command module stayed behind on July 20, 1969, while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin traveled to the lunar surface to become the first humans to walk on the moon, died on Wednesday at age 90, his family said.

Often described as the “forgotten” third astronaut on the historic mission, Collins remained alone in the command module for more than 21 hours until his two fellow astronauts returned in the lunar module.

Godspeed, Mike Collins. 

His narration in parts of “For All Mankind” is beautiful.

Michael Collins: America’s Great Astronaut 

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