Eileen Marie Collins (1956-)
Eileen Marie Collins
Collins was born November 19, 1956, in Elmira, New York. Married to Pat Youngs, originally from San Antonio, Texas. They have one child. She graduated from Elmira Free Academy, Elmira, New York, in 1974; received an associate in science degree in mathematics/science from Corning Community College in 1976; a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics and economics from Syracuse University in 1978; a master of science degree in operations research from Stanford University in 1986; and a master of arts degree in space systems management from Webster University in 1989.
Collins is the first woman assigned as a Space Shuttle Commander. She will command the crew of STS-93 on a 5-day mission aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. STS-93 will highlight the deployment of the newly christened Chandra X-ray Observatory, also known as the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility Imaging System (AXAF). Designed to conduct comprehensive studies of the universe, Chandra will enable scientists to study exotic phenomena such as exploding stars, quasars, and black holes. STS-93 is scheduled for launch in April, 1999.
Additional biographical information on the STS-93 crew members and other NASA astronauts is available on the World Wide Web at: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/astrobio.html
Born November 19, 1956, in Elmira, New York. Married. She enjoys running, golf, hiking, camping, reading, photography, astronomy.
Graduated from Elmira Free Academy, Elmira, New York, in 1974; received an associate in science degree in mathematics/science from Corning Community College in 1976; a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics and economics from Syracuse University in 1978; a master of science degree in operations research from Stanford University in 1986; and a master of arts degree in space systems management from Webster University in 1989.
Member of the Air Force Association, Order of Daedalians, Women Military Aviators, U.S. Space Foundation, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Ninety-Nines.
Defense Superior Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Defense Meritorious Sevice Medal, Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service in Grenada (Operation Urgent Fury, October 1983), French Legion of Honor, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, NASA Space Flight Medals.
Collins graduated in 1979 from Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, where she was a T-38 instructor pilot until 1982. From 1983 to 1985, she was a C-141 aircraft commander and instructor pilot at Travis AFB, California. She spent the following year as a student with the Air Force Institute of Technology.
From 1986 to 1989, she was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, where she was an assistant professor in mathematics and a T-41 instructor pilot. She was selected for the astronaut program while attending the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California, from which she graduated in 1990.
She has logged over 5,000 hours in 30 different types of aircraft.
Selected by NASA in January 1990, Collins became an astronaut in July 1991. Initially assigned to Orbiter engineering support, Collins has also served on the astronaut support team responsible for Orbiter prelaunch checkout, final launch configuration, crew ingress/egress, landing/recovery, worked in Mission Control as a spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM), served as the Astronaut Office Spacecraft Systems Branch Chief, Chief Information Officer, Shuttle Branch Chief, and Astronaut Safety Branch Chief.
A veteran of three space flights, Collins has logged over 537 hours in space. She served as pilot on STS-63 (February 3-11, 1995) and STS-84 (May 15-24, 1997), and was the commander on STS-93 (July 22-27, 1999). Collins is assigned as Commander of STS-114/Utilization and Logistics Flight (ULF-1), scheduled to launch in early 2003.
SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE:
STS-63 (February 3-11, 1995) was the first flight of the new joint Russian-American Space Program. Mission highlights included the rendezvous with the Russian Space Station Mir, operation of Spacehab, the deployment and retrieval of an astronomy satellite, and a space walk. Collins was the first woman pilot of a Space Shuttle.
STS-84 (May 15-24, 1997) was NASA's sixth Shuttle mission to rendezvous and dock with the Russian Space Station Mir. During the flight, the crew conducted a number of secondary experiments and transferred nearly 4 tons of supplies and experiment equipment between Atlantis and the Mir station.
STS-93 Columbia (July 23-27, 1999) was the first Shuttle mission to be commanded by a woman. STS-93 highlighted the deployment of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Designed to conduct comprehensive studies of the universe, the telescope has enabled scientists to study exotic phenomena such as exploding stars, quasars, and black holes. On STS-93, Collins was the first woman Shuttle Commander.
Atlantis lifts off with Mir repair gear
May 15, 1997
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (CNN) -- [Piloted by Lt. Colonel Eileen Collins] The space shuttle Atlantis rocketed off its Florida launch pad on time Thursday in a brilliant blast of light and smoke, headed for Russia's Mir space station.
The mission is vital to both NASA and the Russian space agency. For the United States, the mission will pick up U.S. astronaut Jerry Linenger from Mir, where he has spent the last four months, leaving astronaut Mike Foale in his stead for another four and a half months. Linenger's return comes none too soon for him -- his wife, eight months pregnant, is expected to deliver their second child in June.
Just as important as the crew swap are life-support supplies filling up the Atlantis cargo bay. A new oxygen generator will replace one that failed on Mir, forcing the cosmonauts to burn oxygen candles in order to breathe. The shuttle is also bringing fresh food, and supplies for other broken Mir systems.
The crew of seven bringing these life-sustaining supplies into orbit is the most ethnically diverse NASA has ever assembled. Foale, 40, a British-born astrophysicist, will be the fifth NASA astronaut to live on Mir.
Commander Charlie Precourt trained in France, and the European Space Agency sent Jean Francois Clervoy to NASA for this trip. The Russian space agency added Elena Kondakova to the crew.
Flight engineer Carlos Noriega is the first Peruvian-born astronaut -- his family moved to California when he was five. And astrophysicist Edward Lu's family came to the United States from China.
The two ships will dock Friday, at 10:34 p.m. EDT -- a time set specifically to prevent sun glare from distracting shuttle Commander Charlie Precourt as the two spacecraft hook up. Atlantis is due to land back at Kennedy Space Center on May 24 at about 7:52 a.m.
Meet: Lt. Col. Eileen M. Collins, First Woman Shuttle Commander
"Dreams Do Come True"
U.S.A.F. Lt. Col. Eileen Marie Collins is the first woman ever selected to be a space shuttle pilot and the first woman to command a space shuttle. In the Air Force she was a T-38 instructor pilot and a C-141 aircraft commander. Today she has flown more than 5,000 hours in more than 30 type of aircraft. When Commander Collins, 42, and her crew launch into space on Columbia in Spring 1999, she will be taking with her the hopes and dreams of a nation of young people here on Earth. She's an energetic and slender woman with short, curly hair and friendly brown eyes.
Eileen grew up in a family with two brothers, a sister and "two very supportive parents." Her parents, Jim and Rose Collins describe her as "a very ordinary person, a down-to-earth individual. She's very thoughtful. Nobody handed her anything. Everything she is today, she's earned." About high school she said, "I began reading voraciously about famous pilots, from Amelia Earhart to Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) who played an important role in WWII. Their stores inspired me. I admired the courage of these women to go and fly into dangerous situations!"
By 1977 Eileen had saved enough money to earn a pilot's license and the following year graduated from Syracuse University. With good grades, flying experience and a letter of recommendation from her ROTC supervisor, she became one of the first women to go straight from college into Air Force pilot training. "That was by far the biggest break of my life, getting into pilot training." This is the point where Eileen set her goals on staying competitive for becoming an astronaut.
Eileen is not only an astronaut but also a wife and the mother of a young daughter. She met her husband, Pat, while they were flying C-141s together in the military. It was while at the U.S.A.F. Academy that they married in the Academy chapel.
At the official announcement of Commander Collins as the First Woman Space Shuttle Commander in the White House on March 5, 1998, Eileen smiled broadly and said, "When I was a child, I dreamed about space - I admired pilots, astronauts, and I've admired explorers of all kinds. It was only a dream that I would someday be one of them. It is my hope that all children, boys and girls, will see this mission and be inspired to reach for their dreams, because dreams do come true!"
Training Schedule : Eileen M. Collins
Training for Astronaut Candidates Astronaut candidates receive training at Johnson Space Center(JSC) near Houston, Texas. They attend science and technology classes on Shuttle systems. Some of the subjects include: mathematics, geology, meterorology, guidance and navigation, oceanography, orbital dynamics, astronomy, physics, and materials processing. Candidates also receive training in parachute jumping, land and sea survival training, scuba diving, and space suits.
As part of the Astronaut Candidate training program, Astronaut Candidates are required to complete military water survival prior to beginning their flying syllabus, and become SCUBA qualified to prepare them for the extravehicular activity training.
Consequently, all Astronaut Candidates will be required to pass a swimming test during their first month of training. They must swim 3 lengths of a 25M pool in a flight suit and tennis shoes. The strokes allowed are freestyle, breast, and sidestroke. There is no time limit. They must also tread water continuously for 10 minutes.
Candidates are also exposed to the problems associated with high (hyperbaric) and low (hypobaric) atmospheric pressures in the altitude chambers and learn to deal with emergencies associated with these conditions. Pilot astronaut trainee, Eileen M. Collins, joined 22 other candidates in early July 1990 to begin a year's training and evaluation at the Johnson Space Center (JSC). ...more
Eileen Collins : Event 02-02-1995
Wearing a scarf that belonged to Amelia Earhart and carrying the pilot's license of early endurance flight champion Bobbi Trout, Lt. Colonel Eileen Collins, 38, lifted off from Cape Canaveral in the co-pilot's seat as the first woman to pilot an American space craft.
She also carried items belonging to members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II and items from the women who applied and passed initial tests in NASA's Mercury program.
An Air Force test pilot, she was selected for the NASA space program in 1990, the first woman chosen as a space shuttle pilot. Eighteen of NASA's astronauts are women serving in scientific roles.
Personally invited by Collins (not NASA) to witness the blastoff were some of the women who tried out for the initial Mercury program in the 1950s, who did exceptionally well (better than the men), and then were turned down because - shock! - they were women!
In June 1963, Valentina Terreshkova, Soviet cosmonaut became the first woman in space. She manually controlled Vostok-6 during parts of the 70.8-hour flight through 48 orbits of earth. ...more
Amelia Earhart's Daughters
Thirty-eight years after becoming NASA's first female astronaut candidate, Jerrie Cobb has emerged from her role as a missionary pilot in the Amazon jungle to crusade for the space shot she was promised.
John Glenn's return to orbit this fall at age 77 has given hope to Cobb, 67, and her many supporters. "I would give my life to fly in space, I really would," said Cobb.
Marcia Dunn, Associated Press
By Carol Peace Robins
Here is a rousing tale of forgotten women: the World War II aviators and the almost-astronauts who proved that they were every bit as competent as men but that, unfortunately, skill wasn't enough. ''Amelia Earhart's Daughters'' begins during World War II when Jacqueline Cochran and Nancy Love trained women to become military ferry pilots.
Accepted because of the shortage of men, the Women's Airforce Service Pilots had no military benefits and dreadful living conditions, even though women consistently outperformed men on exams and flight tests. Women dared to fly the much-feared B-26, known as ''the widowmaker, shaming men into flying it. Cochran and Love continually lobbied Congress for military status -- but to no avail. Woman pilots were denied military funerals (38 women died in the war effort).
By the 1960's, things were worse. Thirteen women -- accomplished pilots with thousands of flying hours -- passed the rigorous tests to become astronauts. But although the United States was behind the Soviet Union in the space race, and despite the efforts of aviators like Jerrie Cobb and Jane Hart, who led the campaign for an American to be the first woman in space, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration refused.
In their first book, Leslie Haynsworth and David Toomey have written an account that is a fine balance of hair-raising exploits, political drama and portraits of colorful heroes who could handle anything except discrimination.
Cape Canaveral -- February 3, 1995, 12:10 AM
The women stand on the VIP section of the bleachers, a mile from the launchpad. It is after midnight, but the bleachers are brightly lit and the women's faces are clearly visible. The seven women are no longer young&emdash;a few are well into their sixties.
But especially when they look in the same direction, something about them doesn't seem nearly that old. It's their eyes. The flesh around their eyes sags a little, but the eyes themselves are extraordinarily bright and clear. They could be the shining sleep-washed eyes of thirteen year-old girls.
In 1960 and 1961, these women had undergone the exhaustive medical tests given to the original seven Mercury astronauts. For a few months they had cause to believe that some of their number might fly into space. The reason their eyes are still extraordinarily bright and clear is simple. It's because they are the eyes of pilots.
The women are in the VIP section at Cape Canaveral to watch the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery. For NASA it is an especially important flight -- it will be the first to rendezvous with the Russian Space Station Mir, and will be a necessary prelude to the construction of the International Space Station. But for these particular spectators the flight has another significance. It is the first time a United States spacecraft will be piloted by a woman.
In fact, they are here at the behest of that woman -- Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Eileen Collins. Collins has brought aboard the Shuttle symbols of women's aviation past -- a scarf that belonged to Amelia Earhart, the silver wings of Women's Airforce Service Pilots of World War II, and some trinkets from a few of the women in the bleachers.
It is a small but meaningful gesture that she will be carrying some part of these women with her, and in some sense it is Collins's attempt to repay them for their inspiration. Like many Americans, then seven women have grown accustomed to the television images. ...more
New shuttle commander to take 'one big step for women'
2001 ISHF Inductee Eileen Marie Collins
Shuttle Press Kit : Index
Shuttle Press Kit : STS-93STS-84 KSC Electronic Photo File
KSC-97EC-0783.jpgEileen M. Collins (15 sec.) MPEG (1.1M) (No Audio)