RIP Michael Collins, "Third Man" of the first Moon landing

Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins died today. He was 90. When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin boarded the lunar module Eagle for the historic Moon landing on July 20, 1969, Collins piloted in the Apollo 11 spacecraft Columbia as it orbited the Moon.

From The New York Times:

Colonel Collins was greatly worried about the moment when the lunar module was to blast off from the moon to dock with Columbia for the trip back to Earth. He knew that if the lander's ascent engine malfunctioned, Mr. Armstrong and Colonel Aldrin might be stranded on the lunar surface or be sent into a wild orbit.

"What happens if they veer this way, that way, the other way?" Colonel Collins remarked 50 years later, noting that he had carried a packet around his neck containing 18 contingency plans for rescuing his crewmates.

[Image: NASA]