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EILEEN COLLINS TO LEAVE NASA



SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468

May 1, 2006

Katherine Trinidad
Headquarters, Washington 
(202) 358-3749

Doug Peterson
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(281) 483-5111 



NASA ASTRONAUT EILEEN COLLINS COMPLETES CAREER OF SPACE FIRSTS

Astronaut Eileen Collins is leaving NASA. Collins was the first woman 
to command a space shuttle and the leader of Discovery's Return to 
Flight mission last year. She plans to pursue private interests and 
spend more time with family. 

"Eileen Collins is a living, breathing example of the best that our 
nation has to offer," said NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. "She 
is, of course, a brave, superb pilot and a magnificent crew 
commander. Beyond those qualities, she is both very bright and 
modestly self-effacing about that fact. And above all, she is 
possessed of a quiet determination to attain the very highest levels 
of accomplishment. I am proud to know her and will greatly miss her 
at NASA."

A veteran of four space flights, Collins' career at NASA has been 
punctuated by firsts. She was the first woman selected as a pilot 
astronaut, the first woman to serve as a shuttle pilot and the first 
woman to command a U.S. spacecraft.

"Eileen is a true pioneer in space and on Earth," said Mike Coats, 
director of NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston. "Her service and 
dedication to her country, to NASA and to space exploration are an 
inspiration. She meets every challenge with confidence and an 
ever-present smile."

Collins was selected as an astronaut in 1990. She served as the pilot 
on mission STS-63 in February 1995, the first shuttle mission to 
rendezvous with the Russian Mir Space Station. In May 1997, she flew 
as pilot on mission STS-84, the sixth shuttle flight to dock to Mir. 
Collins commanded the Space Shuttle Columbia on mission STS-93 in 
July 1999, the flight that launched the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

Her most recent space flight was as commander of July's STS-114 
mission, the first shuttle flight since the Columbia accident in 
2003. During the 14-day mission, Collins and her six-member crew 
tested new shuttle safety enhancements and resupplied the 
International Space Station.

"Eileen is a gifted leader who knows what it takes to get a team 
through the most difficult of times," said Flight Crew Operations 
Director Ken Bowersox. "All of us will feel Eileen's absence, but 
regardless of the path she pursues after leaving NASA, I know she 
will continue to exert a positive influence on the explorers of today 
and tomorrow."

For additional biographical information about Collins, visit:

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios 

For information about NASA's shuttle program and the next mission, 
STS-121, visit: 

http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/home

	
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