Eileen Collins

Astronaut and United States Air Force pilot

Eileen Marie Collins (born 19 November 1956) is a retired NASA astronaut and United States Air Force (USAF) colonel. A former flight instructor and test pilot, Collins was the first woman to pilot the Space Shuttle and the first to command a Space Shuttle mission.

With her T-38 when she graduated from flight school at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma in August 1979


  • "A leader must be collaborative and competent, and your team won’t care if you are a man or a woman".
  • "I also should credit all the women pilots before me, including the Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII and the Mercury 13 women who passed the difficult astronaut exams in the early 1960s".
  • "Sometimes a woman needs to show her competence before the guys “accept” her and trust her".
  • " Set a “mission” for yourself and write it somewhere where you will see it daily".
  • "I believe failure can be caused by lack of focus on that mission, or allowing too many distractions into your life".
  • "I asked my crew to be creative, to think about everything that could go wrong during the mission that no one has thought about yet and bring it to the attention of the flight control team"
  • "Informal learning is more difficult because you don’t always know what you need to know"
  • "It’s hard for the astronauts to meet everybody because we have responsibilities in the office and families we need to see, so we try to spread out".

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