Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins has died. In 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the lunar surface for the first time, while Collins flew Apollo 11’s command module around the moon.
In a statement about Michael Collins, who has died aged 90, his family said, “He spent his final days at peace with his family. Mike always faced the challenges of life with grace and humility and passed away after a battle with cancer. We’re going to miss him so much. However, we know how lucky Mike feels for the life he’s lived.”
The loneliest man in history has passed away
As Collins rotated around the moon, radio broadcasts leading to mission control were often blocked, completely separating him from all other people. That’s why the astronaut is called the loneliest man in history.
In case of any problems with the lunar lander, Collins safely re-took Aldrin and Armstrong back into the command module, circling the moon in case of any problems. Collins also took one of the most famous photographs in the history of the moon and earth landing in the background.
Collins retired from NASA a year after the mission. He worked at the State Department before taking over as director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Even though Collins doesn’t walk on the moon, his name and signature are on a record there.
“Today, the country has lost a true pioneer and a lifelong advocate for exploration,” NASA administrator Steve Jurczyk said in a statement about Collins’ death. NASA is mourning the loss of this successful pilot and astronaut, who is a friend to anyone trying to push the boundaries of human potential. Whether his work is behind the scenes or in full view, his legacy will always be one of America’s first steps into the cosmos. His soul will come with us as we move towards more distant horizons.”