Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins dies, leaving behind legacy


Haeleigh Bayle, Reporter

Michael Collins, an astronaut who was part of the first manned mission to land on the Moon, died peacefully surrounded by family early on the morning of April 28. Collins was 90 years old when he passed.

Collins was born in 1930 in Rome, Italy, and spent his childhood there. Michael left behind his legacy of hard work and determination as he worked in the science field for many years. His total time spent working as an active astronaut was seven years. He fought a hard battle against cancer but was unable to survive his bout with the disease. Now, people remember his great legacy as being one of the three men to orbit the Moon.

Although Michael Collins never stepped foot on the Moon himself, he chose to work from the inside of Apollo 11 and let the other two men (Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin) go out instead. Collins had never been one for the spotlight, so staying off of television broadcasts was something he preferred. After looking back, many scientists deemed his role as the “most important” role during that first mission to the Moon that changed history.

Michael Collins, before being brought back into the light of society, was known as the “forgotten astronaut.” Collins lived a private life after leaving NASA, and he enjoyed writing and painting in his home in Florida. He also joined the Air Force in his early career, and took a liking to flying different jets as a test pilot and fighter pilot. This set him on the course for becoming an astronaut for NASA in his later years.

Not only did he accomplish being such a vital part of the Apollo 11 mission, he also wrote many books and was decorated with many awards. His awards included: Presidential Medal for Freedom, the Robert J. Collier Trophy, the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, and the Harmon International Trophy. His awards reflected the type of person he was and how much he tried to succeed in everything he did. However, he did it with humility and took every accomplishment humbly.

He fought his battle against cancer until the very last breath, and his family fought alongside him the whole time. They knew how strong he was and that his life was one to be celebrated/remembered. His family recalled in a statement that, “We will honor his wish for us to celebrate, not mourn, that life.”

Buzz Aldrin, the last living member of the Apollo 11 mission, also paid tribute to the life of Michael Collins and recalled how great of a man Collins really was. He tweeted, “Dear Mike, Wherever you have been or will be, you will always have the Fire to Carry us deftly to new heights and to the future. We will miss you. May you Rest in Peace.”

America thanks Michael Collins for his extraordinary assistance in the first-ever manned mission to the Moon, and the U.S. will celebrate his legacy and all that he accomplished for the world of science.