At the moment when Neil Armstrong and buzz Aldrin carried out a historic landing on the moon, us astronaut Michael Collins remained in the command module in orbit of the satellite. His mission was no less important but certainly less known to ensure the successful return of all three astronauts home. We will tell you the story of the 16th NASA astronaut.
Biography of the future astronaut
Michael Collins was born October 31, 1930 in Rome, Italy. His father more than 30 years dedicated to the US army, so the Collins family often traveled to many cities in the United States and the world: from new York to Puerto Rico. Michael also had an older brother, James Lawton Collins, Jr., and two older sisters Virginia and Agnes.
It is known that at the time of entry of the United States during the Second world war, the Collinses moved to Washington, D.C. That’s where Michael graduated from high school. His mother had wanted him to learn the diplomatic service, but Michael decided to follow in the footsteps of his father and in 1948, enters the U.S. Military Academy at West point. In 1952, Michael receives a bachelor’s degree and entered the service of the Military air forces of the United States.
During the first year of service a future astronaut is the profession of a military pilot. During the entire period of service in the air force, Collins was replaced by military bases in the United States, as well as some time served on the base near the town of Chaumont in France.
In 1961, Michael Collins is finalizing a extreme flight tests in school, the U.S. air force and becomes a test pilot.
Michael Collins test pilot first right at the bottom
In 1962 Michael Collins joined the list of 32 candidates for the astronauts who were finalists of the 2nd set of NASA. In October of 1963 already air force captain Michael Collins he was enlisted in the astronaut corps in the framework of 3-NASA.
Of the thirty astronauts, selected in the first three groups, only Collins and his colleague William Anders were born outside of the United States. The training began with a 240-hour course on the basics of space flight. Fifty-eight hours of this time was devoted to Geology, which Collins was not easy and generally not very interested in it.
The first flight of an astronaut
18 Jun 1966 pilot Michael Collins and commander John young were launched aboard Gemini 10 with Cape Canaveral. The objective of the mission was the docking with the unmanned spacecraft Agena-X to practice rendezvous and docking in Earth orbit. After docking with the spacecraft, the latter with its engines moved the entire structure to the higher orbit to the apparatus Agena VIII.
During the mission, Michael Collins has made two extravehicular activity duration 49 and 39 minutes each. In the first release there have been several scientific experiments, and during the second astronaut anchored near spacecraft Agena and got attached to the housing of the pilot device.
During the maneuvers, carried out by Collins, John young was controlled by the relative position of the spacecraft Agena and Gemini. Due to the lack of fuel, the astronauts failed to execute a number of less important secondary tasks that were planned. July 22, 1966, the spacecraft successfully landed. The total flight duration was 2 days 22 hours 47 minutes.
John young and Michael Collins
The next flight, which began training the astronaut, was part of the Apollo program the Apollo 8 spacecraft, a task which was to run the test maneuvers in Earth orbit and near the Moon. However, due to the necessary operation for a hernia, Michael was removed from the crew.
After his recovery, Collins enlisted part of the crew of the Apollo 11.
In the end the flight of Apollo 8 marked the beginning of a new era in space exploration and in the history of mankind. During this mission the first time people left earth’s space and saw our planet from afar, first left Earth’s gravitational field and ended up in a gravitational field of its companion, was first exposed to solar radiation outside Earth’s magnetic field, for the first time saw dark side of the moon and Earthrise over the lunar horizon for the first time temporarily in a situation when Land was no contact, and first entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed return from the moon.
The historic mission of Apollo 11
The second flight of astronaut Michael Collins took place on 16 July 1969. He as a pilot astronaut joined the crew of Apollo 11.
After the flight path to the moon compartments of the spacecraft was rebuilt. The command module housed the crew, separated from the third stage, then, under the control of Michael Collins, the command module Columbia was removed, turned 180 degrees, docked with the lunar module Eagle, pulled it out and turned back. The third stage, separate from the main compartments of the ship, the last pulse of the engine, was sent to heliocentric orbit.
Columbia is joined with the module Eagle / Animations Google
After that, Collins controlled maneuver in which apartments Columbia with an attached device Eagle had to constantly rotate on the way to the moon. This was extremely important, because it significantly reduced the effect of solar radiation on the earth’s atmosphere unprotected astronauts.
On the third day of the mission, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “buzz” Aldrin were moved from the command module in lunar. After reaching the satellite of the Earth and entering lunar orbit, when the spacecraft have made the 13th orbit around the moon module Eagle and Columbia undocked.
Michael Collins inside the simulator-simulator machine Columbia
While landing the lunar module on the lunar surface, command module with Michael Collins on Board were on the lunar orbit. After the tests are complete, the astronauts returned to the Eagle and began the takeoff to the machine Columbia, which was already visible on the horizon. After three and a half hours, both parts of the ship were already at a distance of 30 meters from each other. Next, Michael Collins began a rapprochement in the manual mode, which resulted in the successful docking.
After the execution of the main tasks of the space mission, the crew of Apollo started the engine and adjusted the course to Earth.
24 July 1969 the spacecraft with a speed of 11 kilometers per second entered the Earth’s atmosphere, and another 15 minutes to splash down in the Pacific ocean, at a distance of 24 kilometers from the aircraft carrier Hornet, which was already waiting for astronauts. Before opening, the command module’s hatch was disinfected on the outside. After that, the module was abandoned three of the suit of biological protection, which put the crew before leaving the module. The astronauts were taken by helicopter to the aircraft carrier, where they moved into a mobile quarantine van. The historical flight lasted 3 hours, 18 minutes, 35 seconds.
The crew of Apollo 11: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, Edwin “buzz” Aldrin Photo, NASA
Life after NASA
Michael Collins left NASA in January 1970, the year. Since then, an outstanding astronaut, he served in leadership positions at Edwards air force base. In 1971 year he graduated from Industrial College. From October 1973 he was Deputy chief of the air staff for research and development work. In 1974, the year Collins finished the course of development management at the Harvard Business School. Since the end of 1976 and by 1982 he was assistant chief of the development of the air force.
In 1974, Michael Collins wrote an autobiography called “Carrying the fire: journey of the cosmonaut”. Writer new York times John Wilford wrote that autobiography Collins – “the best story about what it’s like to be an astronaut”.
Michael Collins also wrote: “Start: the story of America in space” where he outlined the history of the American space program, “Flight to the moon: the story of an astronaut”.
In addition, Collins also wrote watercolor paintings, however he did not sign his work, so his authorship is not added value work.
Now, Michael Collins 88 years. He has a number of awards like the medal “For outstanding merit” and “gold medal of Congress” – the highest civilian award of the United States. He is also the author of several scientific publications.
The 50th anniversary of the historic landing a man on the moon, Google has produced an animated video Doodle in which Michael Collins tells the story of the flight of Apollo 11 to the moon.
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