Michael Collins

The Moment

On July 21, 1969 Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin set foot on the moon, the first humans to do so.

The Unseen Story

Michael Collins, the pilot of the Apollo 11 Command Module, created a book of 18 different rendezvous schemes for the Command and Lunar Modules, covering every possible scenario, including early / late launch and failed landing. His book ran 117 pages. Although absent from many of the photos of the lunar landing, Collins’ experience, planning, and ability to hold up mentally as he orbited the moon alone, waiting to determine the fate of Aldrin and Armstrong were crucial to the success of the mission. He also happens to be the guy who came up with the famous mission patch of Apollo 11.

An experienced Air Force test pilot, Collins was not selected as part of the first or even the second group of astronaut applicants to NASA. A group-3 applicant, he was a member of the backup crew for Gemini 7 and the flight crew for Gemini 10. He was the first person to complete multiple extra-vehicular activities (EVAs, or “space walks”). Prior to Apollo 11, Collins had undergone back surgery and been sidelined for three months and unsure if he’d venture into space again.

Apollo 11 was his last space flight, and Collins held the ultimate responsibility for safely getting the crew to the moon and back to Earth. His biggest fear was that he would have to abandon the crew on the surface of the moon. They had an estimated 50% chance of a successful trip.

Still alive today, Collins’ 1974 autobiography is regarded as the best account of what it’s like to be an astronaut. In it, Collins wrote that while he was cautioned that his daylong solo flight around the moon would be lonely, instead he felt “awareness, anticipation, satisfaction, confidence, almost exultation.”

Our Heroes

Roald Amundsen

Roald Amundsen

1911 – Antarctica

Roald Amundsen successfully reaches the geographic South Pole.
Cameron

Cameron

1984 – The Terminator

The movie grosses $38 million and launches the career of its 29 year-old director.
Michael Collins

Michael Collins

1969 – Our Moon

Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin are the first humans to set foot on the moon.
Jacques Cousteau

Jacques Cousteau

1943 – The French Riviera

Jacques Cousteau wades into the Mediterranean, wearing flippers and the world’s first scuba device.
Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin

1953 – London

Rosalind Franklin invents the X-ray techniques that lead to the discover of the double helix model of DNA.

Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper

1944 – Harvard

Computer pioneer Grace Hopper invents the first compiler for a computer programming language.

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr

1942 – Hollywood

Actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr develops the frequency hopping communications technology behind GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth

Matt Parker

Matt Parker

2012 – London Olympics

Matt Parker utilizes strategic training methods and disciplines which results in 8 gold medals.
Malcolm McLean

Malcolm McLean

1956 – Houston

Malcolm McLean’s Ideal X tanker makes its maiden voyage.
Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla

1893 – World Fair, Chicago

Tesla wows the crowd with his Tesla Coil, including wireless lighting and his induction motor.
Vivien Thomas

Vivien Thomas

1944 – Baltimore

Vivien Thomas develops the first surgical procedure used to treat blue baby syndrome.

Wright Brothers

Wright Brothers

1903 – North Carolina

The iconic flight of the Wright Brothers in 1903 as the first manned aircraft at Kitty Hawk.