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Michael Collins cover

photo credits: Unknown - PD NASA

Michael Collins

former American astronaut and test pilot

Michael Collins (born October 31, 1930) (major general, USAF) is an American former astronaut and test pilot. Selected as part of the third group of fourteen astronauts in 1963, he flew into space twice. His first spaceflight was on Gemini 10, in which he and Command Pilot John Young performed orbital rendezvous with two different spacecraft and undertook two extravehicular activities (EVAs, also known as spacewalks). His second spaceflight was as the Command Module Pilot for Apollo 11. While he stayed in orbit around the Moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left in the Apollo Lunar Module to make the first crewed landing on its surface. He is one of 24 people to have flown to the Moon. Collins was the seventeenth American in space, the fourth person (and third American) to perform a spacewalk, and the first person to have performed more than one spacewalk. Prior to becoming an astronaut, he graduated from the United States Military Academy, and from there he joined the United States Air Force and flew F-86 Sabre fighters at Chambley-Bussieres Air Base. He was accepted into the U.S. Air Force Experimental Flight Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in 1960. He unsuccessfully applied for the second astronaut group, but was accepted for the third. After retiring from NASA in 1970, Collins took a job in the Department of State as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. A year later, he became the director of the National Air and Space Museum and held this position until 1978, when he stepped down to become undersecretary of the Smithsonian Institution. In 1980, he took a job as vice president of LTV Aerospace. Collins resigned in 1985 to start his own consulting firm.
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