HOUSTON, Tx – Astronaut Michael Collins, one-third of the Apollo 11 moon-landing crew, died Wednesday. He was 90.
As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took mankind’s first steps on the moon, Collins, the command module pilot, orbited miles above them.
Before he was a space traveler, Collins was a world traveler.
He was born in Rome, Italy, where his father — a career Army officer — was stationed. The Army sent their family all over the globe.
Collins followed in his father’s footsteps to West Point and then into the armed services. However, instead of the Army, his love of flying led him to the Air Force.
As an astronaut, he flew to space twice — first as part of the Gemini 10 mission and then on Apollo 11.
Armstrong and Aldrin may have received the glory for that mission to the moon, but Collins stood out at NASA.
“Mike Collins was probably the brightest of the three … well-read, had a hell of an education, everything like that,” said Frank Hughes, a simulator instructor during the Apollo era.