Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins has died at the age of 90 after battling cancer, his family announced on Facebook.
Family Statement on Passing of Astronaut Michael Collins
We regret to share that our beloved father and grandfather…
Collins was a fighter pilot and graduated from flight school at 22 before he applied to the space program. He was selected for the third class of astronauts in 1963, and embarked on the Gemini 10 and Apollo 11 missions, CNN reported.
He became the third U.S. spacewalker and spent 266 hours in space, according to NASA.
After leaving NASA in 1970, he joined the Smithsonian Institution as the Director of the National Air and Space Museum. He also worked as the Vice President of the LTV Aerospace and Defense Company, and served as an independent consultant writing and teaching.
His love for space never ended and he wrote several books, including Carrying the Fire, Flying to the Moon, Other Strange Places, Liftoff: The Story of America’s Adventure in Space and Mission to Mars. Collins was awarded honorary degrees from six universities and received multiple awards, including the Presidential Medal for Freedom.
We mourn the passing of Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, who piloted humanity’s first voyage to the surface of another world. An advocate for exploration, @AstroMCollins inspired generations and his legacy propels us further into the cosmos: https://t.co/47by569R56 pic.twitter.com/rKMxdTIYYm
— NASA (@NASA) April 28, 2021
NASA released the following statement about his passing:
“NASA mourns the loss of this accomplished pilot and astronaut, a friend of all who seek to push the envelope of human potential. Whether his work was behind the scenes or on full view, his legacy will always be as one of the leaders who took America’s first steps into the cosmos. And his spirit will go with us as we venture toward farther horizons.”
His family has asked for privacy as they grieve. Details on the funeral services have not been released.