Discovering History’s Heroes: Michael Collins Forgotten Astronaut

By James Buckley Jr.

When he was a kid, Michael Collins didn’t grow up wanting to be an astronaut. There was a good reason for that. There were no astronauts when he was a kid. In fact, the first airplane had flown just twenty-seven years before his birth. When he was born, flying to the moon was something you read about in science fiction.


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Meet the people who make history happen. The Apollo 11 mission’s goal was to land a man on the moon and bring him safely bac to Earth. On July 16, 1969, a Saturn V rocket lifted off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to make that a reality. Four days later two astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, would walk on the moon. But did you know that there were three astronauts aboard the rocket on July 16? Michael Collins didn’t get to talk on the moon, but his contributions is just as important as Armstrong’s and Aldrin’s. In fact, without Michael Collins, the moon landing might never have happened.

Before he joined NASA, Michael Collins was a test pilot in the Air Force, flying fighter jets. As an astronaut he made two trips into space, including the trip to the moon, and even conducted one of the first walks in space! But even if he had never gone to space, Collins still would have had an amazing life. He did things that most people only dream about. Learn more about this unsung hero.

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