Michael Collins, one of the three crew members of Apollo 11, the first manned mission in 1969, died at the age of 90, his family says.
He said Wednesday, “I died after a brave fight against cancer. He spent his last day in peace with his family.”
Collins remained in orbit on the Moon while his colleagues Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were walking on the Moon.
Aldrin, 91, is currently the only surviving member of the mission.
In a statement, the Collins family said: “Mike always faced the challenges of life with elegance and humility, as well as this, his last challenge.”
“We will miss him terribly, but we still know how lucky Mike has been in his life.
“We respect his desire to celebrate the life, not to mourn it.”
On July 16, 2019, Collins visited the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This is where the mission started exactly 50 years ago.
Speaking at Launch Pad 39A, where the crew’s rocket began its historic mission, he explained how he felt during takeoff.
“A shock wave from Rocket Power hits you,” Collins told NASA TV. “Your whole body is trembling. This gives you a completely different notion of what power really means.”
“You’re parked in the cockpit … when you take off,” he continued. “From then on, it will be a quieter, more rational and quieter vehicle until the moon.
“Our crew felt the weight of the world on our shoulders. We all knew we were looking at us, our friends or our enemies.”
The shadow hero of the first lunar landing
Paul Rincon, Scientific Editor, BBC News Website
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin received the most attention during their first historic first lunar landing in 1969.
But their crew, Michael Collins, was just as important to the success of the mission.
As command module pilots, Collins remained in orbit on the Moon, and Neil and Buzz crossed the surface. But he performed important operations in space needed to reach the Moon.
He was optimistic about others getting glory: “I certainly thought I didn’t have the best seat of the three,” he said. “But to be honest, I was excited about the seat I had.”
After leaving Nasa, he had a short political spell, but later retired to Florida, where he painted and wrote.
Despite joining Twitter in 2019, at the age of 88, he admitted that he had never really enjoyed the spotlight of public life.
But his name survives as a new generation of astronauts prepares to return to the Moon in the next few years, following the path burned by Collins and other Apollo pioneers.
What was the mission of Apollo 11?
On July 16, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins were tied to the Apollo spacecraft on a vast Saturn V rocket and put into orbit in just over 11 minutes.
Four days later, Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon. Collins stayed in the command module throughout the mission.
Armstrong’s words, sent to the world on television, have appeared in history.It’s a small step for humanity and a big leap for humanity. “
About 400,000 people worked on this program, which cost $ 25 billion.
The crew returned to Earth and flew into the Pacific Ocean on July 24.
An estimated 650 million people worldwide have seen landings on the moon. For the United States, this achievement has helped show its power to viewers around the world.
Details of Apollo 11: