Michael Collins Commemorates Apollo 11 Mission

Astronaut Michael Collins served as the command module pilot on Apollo 11. NASA

NASA, along with a multitude of other organizations and enthusiasts around the world, has geared up for celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission—the first to land a human on the Moon—for several months now. Now the date is upon us: The mission launched from Cape Canaveral on June 16, 1969, at 13:32 UTC, on the nose of a Saturn V rocket. The Apollo Lunar Module Eagle touched down on the barren plain named the Sea of Tranquility on June 20.

Three astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, flew on that legendary spacecraft to the Moon, and Collins will lead a special commemoration of the mission at EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh. Collins served as the mission's command module pilot. He and fellow astronaut Joe Engle will join an evening program at the Theater in the Woods on Friday, July 26, hosted by four-time space shuttle astronaut Charlie Precourt.

Collins was one of the third group of astronauts selected to join the lunar program, beginning with NASA in 1963. He followed his time at the space agency by joining the Smithsonian Institution in 1970 for ten years, and serving as director of the National Air and Space Museum for seven years.

Other NASA luminaries at AirVenture will include Doug Wheelock, space shuttle astronaut (STS-120) and commander of the International Space Station (ISS-25), at special NASA exhibits at the EAA Aviation Gateway Park celebrating the possibilities of aeronautics and space.

If you'd like to relive the mission in real time, check out the journey here.

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

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