Cowboy Blob's Saloon and Shootin Gallery

I'm not a real Cowboy, but I play one in the movies.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Loneliest Man in the Universe

Not since the greatest pilot he ever saw "Gordo" Cooper made his 22 Earth orbits in the final Mercury space mission had any man been as alone as Astronaut Michael Collins during the Apollo XI mission. While Neil Armstrong and "Buzz" Aldrin journeyed to the moon's surface and history, command module pilot Collins remained in lunar orbit. As a kid, I picked Collins as my favorite astronaut because, instead of being the first or second human to set foot on Earth's natural satellite, he piloted their ride home around the moon. What could it have been like to be so far away from everybody, especially while the spaceship sailed behind the moon, away from all human contact? At least the LEM crew had each other for company! The world's ultimate designated driver--his buddies had all the fun while he sipped Tang and watched the universe through the window. Today is the anniversary of the 1969 Apollo XI moon landing and his two crewmates will get a lot of mention, undoubtedly. But give a little love for the ultimate team player, Michael Collins, who made the mission the success it was.

Collins, a 1952 West Point graduate, attained the rank of Brigadier General in the US Air Force and later became the Director of the Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution (my favorite!). He logged approx. 5,000 hours in the air and 266 hours in space (1 hour 27 minutes in a space walk).

Mudville Gazette Open Post


  • At 3:14 PM, Blogger Countertop said…

    Didn't he eventually make it onto the moon during a later Apollo mission??

    I thought he had.

    I had the chance to meet him a few years ago at a Marshall Institute event, he was a rather impressive person.

  • At 5:47 PM, Blogger Barb said…

    Wow - talk about being All Alone! He's definitely a great unsung hero.

  • At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    He wrote a great book about the experience. "Carrying the Fire" if I recall.

  • At 3:08 AM, Blogger Da Goddess said…

    And not only did he do that all alone, he ended up with a soap opera actress for a daughter.

  • At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    In his own words, "that's a load of balony, as I had mission control buzzing in my ear".. watch the documentary "the shadow of the moon". It's a good one!


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