Author Topic: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut  (Read 361 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 20710
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« on: April 28, 2021, 08:41:16 AM »
One of the heroes of my youth. I'm old enough to remember that time vividly, looking up at the Moon that night in 1969 and thinking that people were on it! Collins, of course, circled the Moon in the Command Module. Perhaps, however, the mission that made the most impression on my 13 year old self was Apollo 8 (Borman, Lovell, Anders - all still alive I think) which was the first to orbit the Moon and take the amazing 'Earthrise' photo.
RIP Michael Collins:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-56921562

« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 09:48:54 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 5386
  • Location: USA
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2021, 10:15:10 AM »
One of the heroes of my youth. I'm old enough to remember that time vividly, looking up at the Moon that night in 1969 and thinking that people were on it! Collins, of course, circled the Moon in the Command Module. Perhaps, however, the mission that made the most impression on my 13 year old self was Apollo 8 (Borman, Lovell, Anders - all still alive I think) which was the first to orbit the Moon and take the amazing 'Earthrise' photo.
RIP Michael Collins:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-56921562


Sorry to hear the sad news.  :(  Can only imagine what was going on through his head during the whole launching, orbiting and seeing the moon so closely and then reentering the earth's atmosphere.  How badly did he wish to be on the moon's surface?  :-\

PD

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 20710
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2021, 10:47:07 AM »
Sorry to hear the sad news.  :(  Can only imagine what was going on through his head during the whole launching, orbiting and seeing the moon so closely and then reentering the earth's atmosphere.  How badly did he wish to be on the moon's surface?  :-\

PD

Here's a nice short NASA tribute to him:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4mnpHvK8yM
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1416
  • Location: California
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2021, 02:45:09 PM »
His name will be remembered long after we are all forgotten.  RIP.  I've met 4 moonwalkers.  All are between 88 and 92 now.  But I will never forget touching those who have touched another world.  Michael Collins was one of my top favorite astronauts, definitely my favorite author.  RIP sir. I thought you would never die.

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 54427
  • Gustav Mahler (1860 - 1911)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    Entartete Musik
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2021, 03:09:09 PM »
At first, I read the title of the thread simply as RIP, Michael Collins and I thought “Oh no!” Of course, the Michael Collins I was thinking about was the clarinetist/conductor. I don’t think I’ve heard of the astronaut with the same name. Honestly, space missions, NASA, and all that never really interested me.
Don’t forget your four A’s, folks: Alex, Arnie, Alban and Anton


Offline steve ridgway

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1909
  • Location: Cheshire, England
  • Currently Listening to:
    The museum of musical modernism
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2021, 08:41:24 AM »
I’m just old enough to remember the Apollo missions, my family took us on holiday to a flat in Devon that had a TV so we could watch Apollo 11. I rather like the idea of Collins being left to enjoy circling the Moon all by himself while the other two were busy. 8)

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 20710
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2021, 05:55:51 AM »
I’m just old enough to remember the Apollo missions, my family took us on holiday to a flat in Devon that had a TV so we could watch Apollo 11. I rather like the idea of Collins being left to enjoy circling the Moon all by himself while the other two were busy. 8)
Yes, me too Steve!
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 20710
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2021, 05:57:55 AM »
His name will be remembered long after we are all forgotten.  RIP.  I've met 4 moonwalkers.  All are between 88 and 92 now.  But I will never forget touching those who have touched another world.  Michael Collins was one of my top favorite astronauts, definitely my favorite author.  RIP sir. I thought you would never die.
How interesting that you've met 4 moonwalkers. How come? Michael Collins seemed very nice in the interviews that I've been watching in the last few days. He was always my favourite of the Apollo 11 astronauts.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Iota

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 815
  • Location: UK
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2021, 10:27:07 AM »
Of no interest to anybody, but a small coincidence .. the newest addition to our extended family is a one-year-old, and the other day his three-year-old brother was dressed up in rather glam astronaut suit being filmed singing Old Macdonald (in arcane and previously unknown style .. :laugh:). But his brother climbing around in the background was somehow stealing the scene, and I commented that he was a bit like Michael Collins stuck in the command module while his brother's Buzz Aldrin frolicked in front of the world's gaze, only this time he seemed to get an overdue slice of attention.
I don't think I'd mentioned or thought about Michael Collins for absolutely years, and then a few days later his death was announced.   :(  Anyway, apologies for that rather pointless interjection, as you were.
 

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 5386
  • Location: USA
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2021, 12:59:47 PM »
Of no interest to anybody, but a small coincidence .. the newest addition to our extended family is a one-year-old, and the other day his three-year-old brother was dressed up in rather glam astronaut suit being filmed singing Old Macdonald (in arcane and previously unknown style .. :laugh:). But his brother climbing around in the background was somehow stealing the scene, and I commented that he was a bit like Michael Collins stuck in the command module while his brother's Buzz Aldrin frolicked in front of the world's gaze, only this time he seemed to get an overdue slice of attention.
I don't think I'd mentioned or thought about Michael Collins for absolutely years, and then a few days later his death was announced.   :(  Anyway, apologies for that rather pointless interjection, as you were.
No apology needed; that was a sweet story!  :)

PD

Offline steve ridgway

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1909
  • Location: Cheshire, England
  • Currently Listening to:
    The museum of musical modernism
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2021, 08:17:11 PM »
It wasn’t pointless; this is how meaningful coincidences work so thanks for mentioning it.

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 20710
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2021, 11:23:24 PM »
No apology needed; that was a sweet story!  :)

PD

Yes, indeed. PD is right - it's a very charming story.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1416
  • Location: California
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2021, 04:45:31 AM »
How interesting that you've met 4 moonwalkers. How come? Michael Collins seemed very nice in the interviews that I've been watching in the last few days. He was always my favourite of the Apollo 11 astronauts.

I met Buzz a couple of times, at either talks, book events and last was the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing.  Charlie Duke was with him, he's the youngest of them, probably 87 or so now, but was Capcom on Apollo 11.  Capcom is the one person who speaks between NASA and the capsule...the Capsule Communicator and it is always an Astronaut in rotation.  So Charlie Duke was the guy who was to Neil "We copy you down, Eagle, you've got a bunch of guys here about to turn blue in the face and we're breathing again." after the extremely close call of low fuel and last minute manual landing by Neil of Apollo 11.  Charlie would himself land on the moon on Apollo 16.  Harrison Schmidt and Gene Cernan from Apollo 17 at talks and events.  Needless to say, I'm a life long space enthusiast so have followed this all my life.  Since these events happened before I was born, it felt like ancient history to me when I was a kid but now my college days were closer to those events than they were to today.  :laugh:
« Last Edit: May 02, 2021, 04:48:49 AM by relm1 »

Offline steve ridgway

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1909
  • Location: Cheshire, England
  • Currently Listening to:
    The museum of musical modernism
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2021, 08:04:57 PM »
It’s great that some of the astronauts spent a lot of time talking to the public and keeping the interest going. I watched (and recorded) a load of TV programs for the 50th anniversary and have a few favourite books that I revisit now and again like Apollo Expeditions to the Moon which NASA have put online at https://history.nasa.gov/SP-350/cover.html.

Offline Iota

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 815
  • Location: UK
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2021, 04:10:02 AM »
Thanks, PD, Steve and vandermolen (messages #9 - 11) (I just thought it might be a bit trivial for the thread).

2021 shaping up to be an interesting year for space enthusiasts, with the long-awaited launch of the James Webb telescope, which at a 100 times more powerful than the Hubble, promises interesting possibilities in the areas of dark energy and exoplanets. And the Nancy Roman Telescope to follow, potentially launching in 2025.  :)

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1416
  • Location: California
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2021, 04:53:17 AM »
It’s great that some of the astronauts spent a lot of time talking to the public and keeping the interest going. I watched (and recorded) a load of TV programs for the 50th anniversary and have a few favourite books that I revisit now and again like Apollo Expeditions to the Moon which NASA have put online at https://history.nasa.gov/SP-350/cover.html.

It was literally part of their job as astronauts.  They had to attend "charm" school, learn how to talk to kids and reporters and loathed it but understood that was part of the job, like having Time magazine take pictures of their wife and kids and follow them around.  I think Charlie Duke genuinely enjoys it though since he always has a smile on it but some of them, it's clear they hate this part of the job.  It's hard to imagine meeting them now an their 80's and 90's, these are the toughest of men.  Not just cold war era military pilots, but the top tier from those ranks.  If you enjoy this topic, I'd highly recommend reading Michael Collins, "Carrying the Fire", the best book written about astronauts by an astronaut.  Not just my opinion but it's universally praised for just being very enjoyable snap shot of that time and place plus Collins is very witty and more honest and philosophical than other astronauts are prone to get.  He gives a great rundown of the other astronauts from that time.  Here's a snippet:

Michael Collins' assessment of unique astronaut qualities (for astronauts still alive when he wrote Carrying the Fire, he felt it wasn't right of him to speak ill of the dead, the text is excerpted completely from the book so you get a sense for the conversational style of Collins)...
Scott Carpenter: A nice guy, but kind of out of it. Left the program early when it became obvious that his one Mercury flight was all he was going to get. Got hooked on underwater exploration, later got into the wasp-breeding business (yes, wasp-breeding).
Wally Schirra: Oh ho ho! Could make a good living playing Santa Claus in a department store. This affability is backed up by a larger-than-life ego, but you have to admit that he is the only one to fly on all three in the series-Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. His Apollo flight was especially gutsy, coming after a fatal fire, but then the spacecraft wouldn't dare blow up with Wally on board.
Deke Slayton: The super straight shooter, honest, nononsense–grounded by the medics in an absurd auto-da-fé involving irregular heartbeats. Should have flown to the moon and back many times over by now, but has not gotten past his Houston desk, where he presides over all the astronauts and a lot of the engineers–and the program is better for it. The best boss I ever had, with the possible exception of William P. Rogers.
John Glenn: The only one I don't really know, as he was leaving as I was entering. One thing for sure, though, he's the best PR man in the bunch.
Gordo Cooper: Kind of went downhill. Flew well on Mercury, not a bad job on Gemini 5, but Apollo seemed too much.
Al Shepard: "Big Al," and big in many ways. Shrewdest of the bunch, the only one to get rich in the program, he ran the astronaut office as merely one part of his far-flung empire. No teddy bear, Al can put down friend or foe alike with searing stare and caustic comment.
Frank Borman: Aggressive, capable, makes decisions faster than anyone I have ever met--with an amazingly good batting average,· which would be even better if he slowed down a bit. Attracted to money and power, in the long run Frank will probably be the most successful of the group, not counting Neil, who will, of course, occupy a special place in history.
Jim McDivitt: One of the best. Smart, pleasant, gregarious, hard-working, religious. Thought by some to run a little scared, his thoroughness was legendary.
Pete Conrad: Funny, noisy, colorful, cool, competent; snazzy dresser, race-car driver. One of the few who lives up to the image. Should play Pete Conrad in a Pete Conrad movie.
John Young: Mysterious. The epitome of the non-hero, with a country boy's "aw shucks-t'ain't nothing" demeanor, which masks a delightful wit and a keen engineer's mind.
Neil Armstrong: Makes decisions slowly and well. As Borman gulps decisions, Armstrong savors them--rolling them around on his tongue like a fine wine and swallowing at the very last moment. (He had twenty seconds of fuel remaining when he landed on the moon.) Neil is a classy guy, and I can't offhand think of a better choice to be first man on the moon.
Jim Lovell: Like his good friend Pete Conrad (who inflicted the horrendous nickname of "Shaky" on him), he stands out in a crowd. A smooth operator, Shaky would do better in the PR world than in the engineering or technical end of things.
Tom Stafford: Fantastic memory and eye for technical facts and figures; does less well with people. Politically ambitious, Oklahoman Tom projects the image of a schoolteacher, rather than the professional pilot he is, or the romantic entrepreneur he would like to be.
Donn Eisele: Who? Lost in Wally Schirra's shadow on Apollo 7, Donn in 1972 became Peace Corps director in Thailand.
Mike Collins: O.K. if you're looking for a handball game, but otherwise nothing special. Lazy (in this group of overachievers, at least), frequently ineffectual, detached, waits for happenings instead of causing them. Balances this with generally good judgment and a broader point of view than most.
Buzz Aldrin: Heavy, man, heavy. Would make a champion chess player; always thinks several moves ahead. If you don't understand what Buzz is talking about today, you will tomorrow or the next day. Fame has not worn well on Buzz. I think he resents not being first on the moon more than he appreciates being second.
Rusty Schweickart: A blithe spirit, eager, inquisitive mind, quick with a cutting retort, not appreciated by the "old heads." Mildly non-conformist, with a wide range of interests, contrasting sharply with the blinders-on preoccupation shown by many astronauts.
Dave Scott: A Jack Armstrong, all-American boy, the last one you would expect to get involved in a shady stamps-for-sale deal, Dave should instead be remembered for his three stellar performances aboard Gemini 8, Apollo 9, and Apollo 15. One of the best.
Gene Ceman: Relaxed, jovial, a pleasant companion. After Scott, the second in our group of fourteen to make three flights, two of them to the moon.
Dick Gordon: Lots of balance, lots of common sense-one of the easiest to get along with. Likes to party, but never at the expense of getting next day's job done. If the New Orleans Saints don't start doing better, I'll be surprised (he's their VP now).
Al Bean: Pleasant, persistent, relentless pursuit of required information-give him an office boy's desk and within a week he will know what the president of the company does. Very pleasant fellow to be around, especially if you like spaghetti, which is all he eats on a trip.
Bill Anders: Intense, energetic, dedicated, no drink, no smoke, no nonsense-used to be inflexible and a bit immature until he became executive secretary of the National Aeronautics and Space Council in Washington, a job that would teach anyone humility and flexibility. Bill is now one of the Atomic Energy commissioners.
Walt Cunningham: Outspoken, blunt, small chip on shoulder; strange mixture of Marine fighter pilot and Rand Corporation research scientist; a complex man alternating between genuine warmth and outright hostility.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2021, 04:56:56 AM by relm1 »

Offline steve ridgway

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1909
  • Location: Cheshire, England
  • Currently Listening to:
    The museum of musical modernism
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2021, 07:21:54 AM »
It must have been very hard for such elite pilots to have spent so many years building up to the lunar missions then completing them and having nothing else as significant to look forward to. Passing on their experiences to other people was perhaps one of the most valuable jobs they had left to do.

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 20710
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2021, 08:33:26 AM »
I met Buzz a couple of times, at either talks, book events and last was the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing.  Charlie Duke was with him, he's the youngest of them, probably 87 or so now, but was Capcom on Apollo 11.  Capcom is the one person who speaks between NASA and the capsule...the Capsule Communicator and it is always an Astronaut in rotation.  So Charlie Duke was the guy who was to Neil "We copy you down, Eagle, you've got a bunch of guys here about to turn blue in the face and we're breathing again." after the extremely close call of low fuel and last minute manual landing by Neil of Apollo 11.  Charlie would himself land on the moon on Apollo 16.  Harrison Schmidt and Gene Cernan from Apollo 17 at talks and events.  Needless to say, I'm a life long space enthusiast so have followed this all my life.  Since these events happened before I was born, it felt like ancient history to me when I was a kid but now my college days were closer to those events than they were to today.  :laugh:
Thanks - very interesting. That '...we're breathing again' comment is etched on my memory.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 20710
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2021, 08:48:18 AM »
It was literally part of their job as astronauts.  They had to attend "charm" school, learn how to talk to kids and reporters and loathed it but understood that was part of the job, like having Time magazine take pictures of their wife and kids and follow them around.  I think Charlie Duke genuinely enjoys it though since he always has a smile on it but some of them, it's clear they hate this part of the job.  It's hard to imagine meeting them now an their 80's and 90's, these are the toughest of men.  Not just cold war era military pilots, but the top tier from those ranks.  If you enjoy this topic, I'd highly recommend reading Michael Collins, "Carrying the Fire", the best book written about astronauts by an astronaut.  Not just my opinion but it's universally praised for just being very enjoyable snap shot of that time and place plus Collins is very witty and more honest and philosophical than other astronauts are prone to get.  He gives a great rundown of the other astronauts from that time.  Here's a snippet:

Michael Collins' assessment of unique astronaut qualities (for astronauts still alive when he wrote Carrying the Fire, he felt it wasn't right of him to speak ill of the dead, the text is excerpted completely from the book so you get a sense for the conversational style of Collins)...
Scott Carpenter: A nice guy, but kind of out of it. Left the program early when it became obvious that his one Mercury flight was all he was going to get. Got hooked on underwater exploration, later got into the wasp-breeding business (yes, wasp-breeding).
Wally Schirra: Oh ho ho! Could make a good living playing Santa Claus in a department store. This affability is backed up by a larger-than-life ego, but you have to admit that he is the only one to fly on all three in the series-Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. His Apollo flight was especially gutsy, coming after a fatal fire, but then the spacecraft wouldn't dare blow up with Wally on board.
Deke Slayton: The super straight shooter, honest, nononsense–grounded by the medics in an absurd auto-da-fé involving irregular heartbeats. Should have flown to the moon and back many times over by now, but has not gotten past his Houston desk, where he presides over all the astronauts and a lot of the engineers–and the program is better for it. The best boss I ever had, with the possible exception of William P. Rogers.
John Glenn: The only one I don't really know, as he was leaving as I was entering. One thing for sure, though, he's the best PR man in the bunch.
Gordo Cooper: Kind of went downhill. Flew well on Mercury, not a bad job on Gemini 5, but Apollo seemed too much.
Al Shepard: "Big Al," and big in many ways. Shrewdest of the bunch, the only one to get rich in the program, he ran the astronaut office as merely one part of his far-flung empire. No teddy bear, Al can put down friend or foe alike with searing stare and caustic comment.
Frank Borman: Aggressive, capable, makes decisions faster than anyone I have ever met--with an amazingly good batting average,· which would be even better if he slowed down a bit. Attracted to money and power, in the long run Frank will probably be the most successful of the group, not counting Neil, who will, of course, occupy a special place in history.
Jim McDivitt: One of the best. Smart, pleasant, gregarious, hard-working, religious. Thought by some to run a little scared, his thoroughness was legendary.
Pete Conrad: Funny, noisy, colorful, cool, competent; snazzy dresser, race-car driver. One of the few who lives up to the image. Should play Pete Conrad in a Pete Conrad movie.
John Young: Mysterious. The epitome of the non-hero, with a country boy's "aw shucks-t'ain't nothing" demeanor, which masks a delightful wit and a keen engineer's mind.
Neil Armstrong: Makes decisions slowly and well. As Borman gulps decisions, Armstrong savors them--rolling them around on his tongue like a fine wine and swallowing at the very last moment. (He had twenty seconds of fuel remaining when he landed on the moon.) Neil is a classy guy, and I can't offhand think of a better choice to be first man on the moon.
Jim Lovell: Like his good friend Pete Conrad (who inflicted the horrendous nickname of "Shaky" on him), he stands out in a crowd. A smooth operator, Shaky would do better in the PR world than in the engineering or technical end of things.
Tom Stafford: Fantastic memory and eye for technical facts and figures; does less well with people. Politically ambitious, Oklahoman Tom projects the image of a schoolteacher, rather than the professional pilot he is, or the romantic entrepreneur he would like to be.
Donn Eisele: Who? Lost in Wally Schirra's shadow on Apollo 7, Donn in 1972 became Peace Corps director in Thailand.
Mike Collins: O.K. if you're looking for a handball game, but otherwise nothing special. Lazy (in this group of overachievers, at least), frequently ineffectual, detached, waits for happenings instead of causing them. Balances this with generally good judgment and a broader point of view than most.
Buzz Aldrin: Heavy, man, heavy. Would make a champion chess player; always thinks several moves ahead. If you don't understand what Buzz is talking about today, you will tomorrow or the next day. Fame has not worn well on Buzz. I think he resents not being first on the moon more than he appreciates being second.
Rusty Schweickart: A blithe spirit, eager, inquisitive mind, quick with a cutting retort, not appreciated by the "old heads." Mildly non-conformist, with a wide range of interests, contrasting sharply with the blinders-on preoccupation shown by many astronauts.
Dave Scott: A Jack Armstrong, all-American boy, the last one you would expect to get involved in a shady stamps-for-sale deal, Dave should instead be remembered for his three stellar performances aboard Gemini 8, Apollo 9, and Apollo 15. One of the best.
Gene Ceman: Relaxed, jovial, a pleasant companion. After Scott, the second in our group of fourteen to make three flights, two of them to the moon.
Dick Gordon: Lots of balance, lots of common sense-one of the easiest to get along with. Likes to party, but never at the expense of getting next day's job done. If the New Orleans Saints don't start doing better, I'll be surprised (he's their VP now).
Al Bean: Pleasant, persistent, relentless pursuit of required information-give him an office boy's desk and within a week he will know what the president of the company does. Very pleasant fellow to be around, especially if you like spaghetti, which is all he eats on a trip.
Bill Anders: Intense, energetic, dedicated, no drink, no smoke, no nonsense-used to be inflexible and a bit immature until he became executive secretary of the National Aeronautics and Space Council in Washington, a job that would teach anyone humility and flexibility. Bill is now one of the Atomic Energy commissioners.
Walt Cunningham: Outspoken, blunt, small chip on shoulder; strange mixture of Marine fighter pilot and Rand Corporation research scientist; a complex man alternating between genuine warmth and outright hostility.
Most interesting. I liked Collins's assessment of himself.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1416
  • Location: California
Re: RIP Michael Collins Apollo 11 Astronaut
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2021, 05:19:50 AM »
Most interesting. I liked Collins's assessment of himself.

I thought his assessment of Neil and Buzz was also very interesting.  This book was written in 1972 so the Apollo program was wrapping up and no doubt they all believed the best was just around the corner rather than that would be it.  All three were out of NASA at the time.  Buzz is actually probably the most interesting of them all from a character point of view and is still with is - I believe he is 90.  in 1972, he was a complete alcoholic which is a reference to how the fame did not wear well on him.  Buzz is also quite open about the mental depression that runs in his family.  His mom (maiden name was moon - no kidding) committed suicide just months before Apollo 11.  His dad, a WWII veteran who suffered from PTSD believed Buzz was a loser and never measured up even saying no one will remember him for being the second on the moon instead of first.  Buzz completed his PhD in Aerospace Engineering from M.I.T. and became known as Doctor Rendezvous for his theory of orbital rendezvous which was the method used to land on the moon by orbiting in a lunar orbiter while a lander goes to the moon then joins back in orbit.  This was purely theoretical at the time and differs from Wernher von Braun approach of taking an entire rocket to the moon as the Soviets were attempting rather than just an orbiter and lander.  That Soviet approach proved more complex and the orbital rendezvous was more practical ultimately giving the US the edge.  After Apollo 11, Buzz hit rock bottom and spent the 70's and 80's pretty much broke, marrying and divorcing, playboy, drunk, and on drugs with a serious death wish.  A horrible legacy for one so accomplished and part of such a historic event.  Around 1990, he put himself back together and built himself back up, became sober and got the mental health treatment he needed.  He is very open about all of this in his various books frequently full of life lessons learned AFTER the moon.  I bump into people who know him personally quite frequently and it is easy to see his demons are not far from him but he seems to be in a good place now with a young girlfriend (for someone of his age), a manager who deals with his money for him, some family problems that come and go, but he is sober and maintaining a life of health, passion, wellness, and adventure.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2021, 05:22:37 AM by relm1 »