Collins, Michael (1930- ), a United States astronaut. He was a member of the Apollo 11 crew, which effected the first moon landing. As the pilot of Columbia, the command module, he orbited the moon while his crewmates, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, landed on and returned from the moon's surface. Collins was born on October 31, 1930, in Rome, Italy, where his father was a military attach. He graduated from West Point in 1952 and was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force. After retiring from the military in 1970, he was a government official and later a business executive.
Collins wrote several books, including Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys (1974), a memoir of his experiences as an astronaut; Liftoff: The Story of America's Adventure in Space (1988); the nonfiction Mission to Mars (1990); and a children's book called Flying to the Moon: An Astronaut's Story (1994).