Michael Collins

Easton Press Michael Collins books

First on the Moon - Books That Changed The World (co-written with Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong - 1999
Note: First on the Moon was also included in the six volume Astronaut Library.


Astronaut Michael Collins

Michael Collins, born on October 31, 1930, in Rome, Italy, was an American astronaut and a key participant in the historic Apollo 11 mission, the first manned mission to land on the Moon. Collins played a crucial role in the success of the mission, orbiting the Moon while his fellow astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface in 1969. Collins' interest in aviation and space exploration began at an early age. He joined the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he pursued his passion for flying. After graduating in 1952, he joined the United States Air Force and later attended the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School. Collins became a skilled test pilot, flying a variety of experimental aircraft.

In 1963, Michael Collins was selected as an astronaut by NASA as part of the third group of astronauts, known as the "Fourteen." His first spaceflight was aboard Gemini 10 in 1966, where he conducted two spacewalks and gained valuable experience in orbital rendezvous and docking. However, Collins is best known for his role as the command module pilot for Apollo 11, the historic mission that successfully landed humans on the Moon for the first time. On July 16, 1969, Collins, along with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, launched into space aboard the Saturn V rocket. While Armstrong and Aldrin descended to the lunar surface in the lunar module "Eagle," Collins orbited the Moon in the command module "Columbia." Collins spent approximately 21 hours alone in orbit around the Moon, maintaining communication with mission control and conducting scientific observations. His role was critical in ensuring the safe return of the entire crew to Earth. On July 24, 1969, the Apollo 11 spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, marking the successful completion of the mission.

After Apollo 11, Michael Collins retired from NASA and pursued various roles in the private sector and government. He authored several books, including his memoir Carrying the Fire, providing insights into his experiences as an astronaut. Collins passed away on April 28, 2021, leaving behind a legacy as a pioneering astronaut and a key contributor to one of humanity's greatest achievements—landing on the Moon.

Carrying the Fire is an autobiographical book written by astronaut Michael Collins. Published in 1974, the book provides a personal account of Collins' experiences as an astronaut, particularly focusing on his time with NASA and the Apollo program. The title Carrying the Fire refers to the responsibility and weight of being an astronaut, representing the flame of exploration and knowledge that astronauts carry with them into space. Collins takes readers on a journey through his life, from his early days as a pilot to his selection as an astronaut and his participation in the Gemini and Apollo missions. One of the central aspects of the book is Collins' role as the command module pilot during the Apollo 11 mission—the first manned mission to land on the Moon. While Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface in the lunar module, Collins remained in orbit around the Moon in the command module. His perspective offers a unique and often overlooked viewpoint of the historic mission.

Carrying the Fire is celebrated for its candid and reflective narrative. Collins provides insights into the challenges, thrills, and emotional aspects of space travel. The book captures the spirit of the space race era, detailing the technical aspects of space missions as well as the human experiences of those involved. Collins' writing style is engaging and personal, making the book accessible to both space enthusiasts and general readers. The memoir is considered one of the classic works in space literature, offering a valuable firsthand account of the golden age of space exploration and the Apollo program. Throughout Carrying the Fire, readers gain a deeper understanding of Michael Collins as an individual, his passion for flying, and his contributions to space exploration. The book remains a significant contribution to the literature on space exploration and serves as a testament to the courage and determination of the astronauts who ventured beyond Earth's atmosphere in the pursuit of knowledge and discovery.

Best books in order by author list:

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