Michael Collins, who was part of the Apollo 11 original moon landing crew and kept the command module flying while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon, has died at the age of 90, his family announced a while ago.
Collins had cancer. He was sometimes known as the “forgotten astronaut” because he didn’t get to land on the moon, while Armstrong and Aldrin became household names.
But his role in the three-man mission in 1969 was just as crucial and his task to keep the module circling and piloting it as his team mates departed from the module in the Eagle lander and then returned safely, was just as crucial, nerve-racking and exciting for the mission as a whole.
A statement released by Collins’s family on Wednesday, including a tweet, said: “We regret to share that out beloved father and grandfather passed away today, after a valiant battle with cancer. He spent his final days peacefully.”
It adds further on that the family hopes people will celebrate his joy, sharp wit and “his quiet sense of purpose, and his wise perspective, gained both from looking back at Earth from the vantage of space and gazing across calm waters from the deck of his fishing boat”.