Press Releases

Chairs Johnson and Beyer Statements on Passing of NASA Astronaut Michael Collins

Today, NASA astronaut Michael Collins passed away at 90 years old after a battle with cancer. Collins had a distinguished career as an Air Force pilot and a NASA Astronaut, followed by other positions in public service. First setting an altitude record on Gemini 10, Collins is most remembered as pilot of the Apollo 11 command module. During the Apollo 11 mission, Collins remained in lunar orbit while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface.

“I’d like to offer my sincere condolences to Michael Collins’ family and friends,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “The progress we make together as a Nation has long been galvanized by historical giants and their incredible achievements, and today we lost one such giant in astronaut Michael Collins. Collins’ impressive career and integral role in the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission is an example of true courage and dedication in a life of public service. Collins’ legacy lives on as his career continues to inspire rising generations as they pursue exploration and discovery.”

“Michael Collins lived an extraordinary life as one of America’s greatest explorers and one of our best public servants,” said Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). “From his days as an Air Force pilot, to his time as a Gemini and Apollo astronaut, including piloting the command module that landed the first humans on the Moon, to his later service with NASA and then the Smithsonian Institution, and his leadership in overseeing the establishment of the Air and Space Museum, Collins was devoted to serving his country, and he did it with brilliance, wit, and success. He was, deservedly, the recipient of our nation’s highest civilian honors, and his accomplishments have inspired generations of Americans. There will never be another like him.”