Michael Collins (1930-2021) was an astronaut, one of 24 who have flown to the moon. A West Point graduate, he was an Air Force jet-fighter pilot and a test-pilot before being recruited by NASA in 1963 as a member of the third astronaut group selected for the Apollo moon project. Lieutenant Colonel Collins flew in the Gemini 10 space mission, orbiting the earth forty-three times in 1966, and piloted the Apollo 11 module for the 1969 lunar mission which put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon's surface. After NASA, Collins became director of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, then under secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and vice president of the LTV Aerospace and Defense Company. He held the rank of major general when he retired from the Air Force Reserve. Collins recounted his experiences as an astronaut in the memoirs Carrying the Fire and Flying to the Moon.
"Collins tells what his space journeys meant to him as a human being [and] discusses the role of man amid the multitudinous mechanical marvels . . . Profoundly affecting." --The New Yorker "Michael Collins can write . . . No other person who has flown in space has captured the experience so vividly." --Henry S.F. Cooper, Jr., The New York Times Book Review