American astronaut who flew the Apollo 11 command module Columbia around the Moon in 1969 Michael Collins passes away at the age of 90. On 20 July 1969, Michael Collins stayed behind when Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong became the first humans to walk on the moon.

Michael Collins

  • He is often addressed as the forgotten 3rd astronaut in the Apollo mission. Collins stayed alone in the command module for 21 hours till his colleagues returned.
  • The worst part of his 21 hour of lonely stay is that he lost contact with Houston when his spacecraft circled the dark side of the moon. Only one side of the moon is visible to the earth constantly. This is because, the rotation and revolution duration of the moon is equal.
  • The Autobiography written by Michael Collins was “Carrying the Fire”.
  • Michael was born in Rome on 31st October 1930. He was the son of a US Army Major.
  • Michael started his career as an Air Force Test pilot.
  • His first Voyage mission was Gemini X. It was a part of the missions that prepared Apollo Programme. His next and final spaceflight was Apollo 11.

About Apollo 11

  • It was the spaceflight that landed first humans on the moon. Armstrong was the first person to land on the moon. Michael was joined by Aldrin after 19 minutes. They spent two and a quarter hours on the moon outside the spacecraft. They brought back 21.5 kg of lunar material back to the earth. They named the site they spent on the lunar surface as Tranquillity Base.
  • The Apollo 11 had three parts namely Command module, service module and lunar module.
  • The Command Module is the place where Michael spent while the others landed on the moon. It was the only part that returned to the earth.
  • Service Module supported the Command Module with electrical power, propulsion, oxygen and water.
  • The Lunar Module had two stages. One was the descent stage to place the astronauts on the moon and an ascent stage to place the astronauts into the orbit.

American Astronaut Michael Collins passes away