American NASA astronaut Michael Collins died on Wednesday at the age of ninety. His family has announced this. Collins was left alone in the Apollo 11 command module he piloted in July 1969, while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface.
During the successful Apollo 11 mission, Collins orbited the moon 30 times alone, while Armstrong and Aldrin explored the surface below him. Previously, the astronaut was part of NASA’s Gemini 10 mission and completed multiple spacewalks.
Collins passed away Wednesday after suffering from cancer for a long time. “We know he has always been happy with the life he has lived,” the astronaut’s family said in a statement. “That’s why we want to honor him by celebrating that life and not mourning.”
Aldrin (91) is the only remaining crew member of Apollo 11 with the death of Collins and Armstrong earlier in 2012. On July 20, 1969, Armstrong grounded the landing module in the Sea of Tranquility.on the moon. They left the next day, after which the lunar module was coupled after a few hours to the main module controlled by Collins. On July 24, the trio returned to Earth.
In addition to being an astronaut, Collins was also a test pilot and flew in the United States Air Force with the North American F-86 Saber.
“Wherever you are, you’ll always have the fire to take us deftly to great heights and into the future,” Aldrin said in a comment. “We will miss you.”
“Michael Collins flew mankind’s maiden voyage to another world, “ NASA said Wednesday. “He was a champion of discovery and an inspiration for generations. His legacy propels us further into the cosmos.”
We mourn the passing of Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, who piloted humanity’s first voyage to the surface of another world. An advocate for exploration, @AstroMCollins inspired generations and his legacy propels us further into the cosmos: https://t.co/47by569R56 pic.twitter.com/rKMxdTIYYm— NASA (@NASA) April 28, 2021
According to NASA, Collins has been dubbed “the loneliest man ever” because he orbited the moon alone while Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the surface.