On this day in 1956, astronaut Eileen Marie Collins was born.
Collins became an astronaut in 1991, and was initially assigned to Orbiter engineering support. She served as pilot of the Space Shuttle on two flights and as commander on two more, and was the first woman to hold either distinction. While in command of Space Shuttle mission STS – 93 Columbia, she lead the deployment of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.
Before becoming an astronaut, Collins received extensive education in the sciences and worked as an Air Force Pilot and instructor. She holds an associate in science degree in mathematics/science, a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics and economics, a Master of Science degree in operations research, and a Master of Arts degree in space systems management.
She was given several special honors during her work with NASA and the Air Force, including the Defense Superior Service Medal and NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal.
Collins retired from NASA in 2006.
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