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.
He served as a pilot for Gemini 10 in 1966 before being selected to pilot the Apollo 11 command module, the first ever lunar landing mission. Although he did not walk on the Moon with Apollo 11, Collins safely flew the crew to, around, and around the Moon, safely meeting the two lunar travelers Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
As people around the world mourn his death and celebrate his life, we reflect on Collins’ life through the photographs he took and images of him over the years, from his Gemini days to Apollo 11 and many more.
Connected: Photo: NASA’s historic Apollo 11 landing on the moon
Age of Gemini
Astronaut Michael Collins checks the camera before launching with Gemini 10.
Astronaut Michael Collins wears a spacesuit inside a spacecraft during NASA’s Gemini 10 mission.
Astronaut Michael Collins conducts an out-of-water drill during NASA’s Gemini 10 space flight.
Astronauts Michael Collins (left) and John W. Young (right) aboard NASA’s motorized retriever as they train to get out of the water.
Astronauts Michael Collins (left) and John W. Young (right) dress during the countdown to NASA’s Gemini 10 space flight.
NASA’s Gemini 10 crew, astronauts Michael Collins (foreground) and John W. Young (background) prepare to launch.
The Gemini 10 crew, astronauts John W. Young (left) and Michael Collins (right), have breakfast before launch.
Age of Apollo
In this image, Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins captured Earth with astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in the lunar module. Collins took this photo as the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle was returning to the command module on July 21, 1969.
Astronaut Michael Collins in his spacesuit during a final check of the communications system before landing on the Apollo 11 mission, July 16, 1969.
Astronaut Michael Collins appears to be discussing his spacesuit glove with NASA technician Joe Schmitt ahead of the Apollo 11 launch.
Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong (right) waves on his way to launch with fellow crew member Michael Collins (left).
Astronaut Michael Collins is pictured inside a mock Apollo command module before the flight of Apollo 11.
The Apollo 11 crew smiles in quarantine after the mission. From left to right, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin.
The Apollo 11 crew meets with President Barack Obama. From left to right, astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, and Neil Armstrong.
Astronaut Michael Collins (right) and NASA Space Center Director Bob Cabana (left) shake hands at Launch Complex 39A on the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, July 16, 2019.
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