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Michael Collins

Command Module Pilot for the first manned lunar landing mission

Michael Collins

Biographical Data

Born on October 31, 1930, in Rome, Italy, where his father was serving as a military attaché to the U. S. Embassy.

Married Patricia Finnegan in 1957. They have three children.


Graduated from Saint Albans School in Washington, D. C., in 1948.

Received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1952.

Military Experience

Commissioned in the Air Force upon graduating from West Point.

Completed flight training at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.

Served at San Marcos Air Force Base, Texas, and James Connally Air Force Base, Texas, before gaining a position on the advanced day fighter training team at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

Assigned to the 21st Fighter-Bomber Wing at the George Air Force Base, California, where he learned how to deliver nuclear weapons. Transferred with the wing when it was relocated to Chaumont-Semoutiers Air Base, France, in June 1954.

Deployed to West Germany during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.

Attended an aircraft maintenance officer course at Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois, after which he commanded a Mobile Training Detachment and traveled to Air Force bases, training mechanics on the servicing of new aircraft. He later commanded a Field Training Detachment.

NASA Career

One of the third group of astronauts named by NASA in October 1963.

Served as backup pilot for the Gemini VII mission.

Served as pilot on the Gemini X mission, with command pilot John W. Young. Mission accomplishments included a successful rendezvous and docking with a separately launched Agena target vehicle and, using the power of the Agena, maneuvering the Gemini spacecraft into another orbit for a rendezvous with a second, passive Agena. He undertook one "spacewalk" during the mission.

Served as a capsule communicator, responsible for communicating directly with the crew, during the Apollo VIII mission.

Served as Command Module Pilot for the Apollo XI mission, the first manned lunar landing mission. He remained aboard the command module Columbia on station in lunar orbit while Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin descended to the lunar surface in the lunar module Eagle.

Left NASA in January 1970.

Post-NASA Career

Served as director of the National Air and Space Museum from 1971 to 1978.

Became vice-president of LTV Aerospace in 1980.

Resigned from LTV to start his own consulting firm, Michael Collins Associates, in 1985.

Recognitions and Awards

Along with his Apollo XI crewmates, he was presented with the Presidential Medal for Freedom in 1969.

NASA Exceptional Service Medal
Air Force Command Pilot Astronaut Wings
Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross

See Also

Washington, D.C.
West Point
Gemini VII
Gemini X
John W. Young
Apollo XI
Neil Armstrong
Edwin Aldrin

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This page was last updated on 10/11/2018.