In photos: space missions of Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins

Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins lived an incredibly vibrant and adventurous life; from his birth in Rome to his early work on NASA’s Gemini program and his key historic flight around the moon.

Collins died at the age of 90 after a long battle with cancer, his family and NASA said Wednesday (April 28). The cosmonaut began his career in the Air Force after graduating from West Point. He continued to serve as an Air Force test pilot, flying 5,000 hours. An experienced pilot, he was selected as one of NASA’s third group of astronauts in 1963 and served as backup pilot for the Gemini 7 mission under the Gemini agency program.

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