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Michael Collins Fast Facts

Andrew Cuomo

Here’s a look at the life of astronaut Michael Collins.


Birth date: October 31, 1930

Death date: April 28, 2021

Birth place: Rome, Italy

Birth name: Michael Collins

Father: James Lawton Collins, a US Army Major General

Mother: Virginia (Stewart) Collins

Marriage: Patricia M. (Finnegan) Collins (April 28, 1957-April 19, 2014, her death)

Children: Michael, Ann and Kathleen

Education: United States Military Academy at West Point, B.S., 1952; Harvard University, Advanced Management Program, 1974

Military Service: US Air Force, 1952-1970, Major General

Other Facts

Collins completed two space flights during his career, logging 266 hours in space – 1 hour and 27 minutes of this was spacewalking.

Said he believes that extraterrestrials do exist, telling the New York Daily News in 1999: “It seems to me the height of arrogance to say that our little stupid sun off in one obscure corner of an odd galaxy called the Milky Way should be the only one in the whole universe capable of developing what we sometimes refer to as intelligent life.”

Nominated for the Emmy for “Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program” at the 72nd Emmy Awards for the CNN documentary “Apollo 11,” which utilizes footage he lensed during his 1969 space mission.


1960-1963 Navy test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base.

October 17, 1963 – Collins is part of the third group of men selected by NASA to be astronauts.

July 18-21, 1966 Part of the Gemini 10 2-man crew, with John Young. The mission lasts almost three days and completes 43 orbits of Earth. Gemini 10 docks with another ship and Collins becomes the third American to walk in space.

July 16-July 24, 1969 Command Module Pilot of the Apollo 11 mission. He remains on board the Columbia in lunar orbit while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin explore the Moon’s surface on July 20.

1969 Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

1970 Retires from NASA.

1970-1971 Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.

1971-1978Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.

1980-1985 Vice President, LTV Aerospace & Defense Company.

1985 – Founds Michael Collins Associates, a Washington, DC aerospace consulting firm, and is inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

March 19, 1993 – Is inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame.

July 20, 1994 – Joins President Bill Clinton and other astronauts at a White House ceremony to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.

July 21, 2004 – Joins President George W. Bush at a White House ceremony with Aldrin and Armstrong marking the 35th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.

September 7, 2007 “In the Shadow of the Moon,” a documentary on the Apollo 11 mission is released.

November 16, 2011 Receives the Congressional Gold Medal for Distinguished Astronauts along with Armstrong, Aldrin and John Glenn.

July 22, 2014 – Meets with President Barack Obama and Aldrin at the White House to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.

July 19, 2019 – Collins, Aldrin, and relatives of Armstrong meet with President Donald Trump at the White House to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.

2020 – Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum rename their awards for Lifetime and Current Achievement to the Michael Collins Trophy. The annual award is presented to acknowledge both past and present achievements in aerospace, science and technology.

April 28, 2021 – Collins dies at age 90 after battling cancer.

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