Col. Eileen M. Collins, USAF (Ret.)

Colonel Eileen M. Collins, USAF (Ret.)
Colonel Eileen M. Collins, USAF (Ret.)

Please see the 2006 Agenda for speakers, the 2006 Press page, and the Collins Press Release for more information on the 2006 banquet event.

Col. Eileen M. Collins, USAF (Ret.), NASA astronaut, is the recipient of the 2006 National Space Trophy. The award is presented annually to an individual who has excelled in furthering national goals in the field of space. Col. Collins receives this award as NASA's first female Space Shuttle Pilot and Commander. She has been a pathfinder, leader and role model for women in aerospace.

Originally from Elmira, New York, Collins earned her associate's degree in math/science from Corning Community College in 1976, her BA in math and economics from Syracuse University in 1978, an MS in operations research from Stanford in 1986, and a MA in space systems management from Webster University in 1989. Collins was a T-38 instructor pilot at Vance AFB in Oklahoma, and a C-141 commander and instructor at Travis AFB in California. From 1986 to 1989 she taught math at the USAF Academy in Colorado and was a T-41 instructor. She graduated from Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB in 1990 before her selection that year as a pilot astronaut. Her first flight was the first for a woman pilot. STS-63 in February 1995 performed a first rendezvous with the Russian Space Station Mir. She was pilot on STS-84 that docked with Mir in May 1997. Her third flight was STS-93, the first American space mission ever commanded by a woman. STS-93 deployed the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Collins commanded the Return-to-Flight STS-114 mission that docked to the International Space Station in July 2005, the first flight since the Columbia accident in 2003. Collins remains an active NASA astronaut with over 872 hours spent in space during her four missions.

A longer biography is available from NASA: Astronaut Bio: Eileen Collins.

Return to the top