Apollo 11 Intrigue

Far side of the Moon

Michael Collins’s solitary orbit:
“Not since Adam has any human known such solitude”

During the Apollo 11 mission, astronaut Michael Collins did not step foot on the Moon, but the mission would not have been possible without this highly skilled command module pilot

Collins spent 27 hours alone in the command module high above the Moon, as the lunar module disconnected from his spacecraft and Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin traveled to and from the Moon’s surface

While alone, Collins orbited the Moon 14 times, losing complete contact with everyone for almost half of every orbit

“Not since Adam has any human known such solitude as Mike Collins is experiencing during this 47 minutes of each lunar revolution.”

Mission Control

While the world watched history being made, Collins’s link to every other human in existence was blocked by a sphere of rock 3,473 km wide

Just minutes before his crewmates took their first steps, Collins lost contact with Mission Control as he reached the far side of the Moon

“If a count were taken, the score would be three billion [people on Earth] plus two over on the other side of the Moon, and one plus God-knows-what on this side”, he said

When Collins came back into contact with Mission Control, Armstrong and Aldrin were still walking on the Moon

While orbiting alone, Collins went through a checklist of tasks and scribbled down an array of notes, including “Limeade Ice Tea” and “Fingernail Clippers

But Collins says he never felt isolated during his time alone in the command module Columbia

“Far from feeling lonely or abandoned, I feel very much a part of what is taking place on the lunar surface,” he said into his recorder