Petition calls for NASA to name its new Lunar Gateway space station after the late astronaut Michael Collins who flew Apollo 11 on first moon landing mission

  • NASA is launching its Lunar Gateway in 2024 that will orbit the moon
  • Now, a petition is asking for the space ship to be named Collins Lunar Gateway
  • It would honor Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins who died on April 28 
  • The Gateway will be an outpost for astronauts working on the lunar surface
  • Collins was part of the 1969 lunar landing with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin 

A petition is calling on NASA to name its planned 2024 Lunar Gateway the ‘Collins Lunar Gateway’ in honor of astronaut Michael Collins who died on April 28.

Collins was part of the three-man crew that made history with the lunar landing in 1969, but unlike Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, he never walked on the moon.

He spent more than 21 hours alone in an orbiting spacecraft, while his colleagues explored the lunar surface – and the public says this is the same experience astronauts will have aboard the Gateway.

‘He [Collins] watched as his fellow astronauts descended onto the surface, just as many astronauts will do from the Gateway in the future,’ writes Collin Simpson, creator of the petition shared on Change.org.

‘Those who seek to follow his path will be able to honor the legacy he left by living and passing through the Collins Lunar Gateway on the way to blaze their own trails and carry the fire.’

NASA’s massive Gateway will be an orbiting laboratory stationed around the moon that will provide astronauts with a ‘home away from home’ during trips to the moon, and a staging post for lunar landings.

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More than 13,000 people are calling on NASA to name its planned 2024 Lunar Gateway the ‘Collins Lunar Gateway’ in honor of astronaut Michael Collins who died on April 28

Lunar Gateway forms a core part of the Artemis missions, which will see NASA put the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024, although it could be delayed.

The bulk of the Artemis mission, including the Lunar Gateway, will be sent to the moon using NASA’s new massive Space Launch System rocket.

Development on the rocket is nearly finished, with the first test flight – which will send the Orion spaceship around the moon without a crew – due to happen late this year or early next year.

With the recent passing of Collins, who died at the age of 90, a petition is requesting his name live on forever in the Gateway.

NASA’s massive Gateway will be an orbiting laboratory stationed around the moon that will provide astronauts with a ‘home away from home’ during trips to the moon, and a staging post for lunar landings

Collins (pictured) spent more than 21 hours alone in an orbiting spacecraft, while his colleagues explored the lunar surface – and the public says this is the same experience astronauts will have aboard the Gateway

‘The Lunar Gateway will be a space station in orbit around the Moon that will provide staging for all future lunar astronauts in the Artemis Program,’ reads the petition.

‘Before they descend to the surface of the Moon, they will all pass through the Gateway. I make this petition to rename the Lunar Gateway to the Collins Lunar Gateway.

‘Michael Collins was one of the three astronauts aboard Apollo 11, the mission that landed the first men on the Moon.’

Collins (middle) was part of the three-man crew that made history with the lunar landing in 1969, but unlike Neil Armstrong (left) and Buzz Aldrin (right), he never walked on the moon

Collins died after a battle with cancer, his family shared in an announcement on April 28.

Although he travelled 238,000 and came within 69 miles of the moon, Collins was tasked with piloting the command module that orbited above his comrades – and he took home a different and unique experience of the mission.

‘The thing I remember most is the view of planet Earth from a great distance,’ he said later. ‘Tiny. Very shiny. Blue and white. Bright. Beautiful. Serene and fragile.’

Lunar Gateway forms a core part of the Artemis missions, which will see NASA put the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024, although it could be delayed.

The Collins family shared heartfelt message following his passing.

‘We regret to share that our beloved father and grandfather passed away today, after a valiant battle with cancer, the statement reads.

‘He spent his final days peacefully, with his family by his side. Mike always faced the challenges of life with grace and humility, and faced this, his final challenge, in the same way. We will miss him terribly.’

Collins has been referred to as ‘The Forgotten Man’ during the Apollo 11 lunar landing, as he circled above while Armstrong and Aldrin made ‘one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’

And Simpson hopes his petition will ensure Collins is never forgotten again.

The history of NASA’s Apollo Program

The Apollo program saw a total of 11 spaceflights and the first humans walk on the moon.

NASA started the program, which is also known as Project Apollo, in 1961 with the sole mission of getting astronauts to the moon and back to Earth safely.

Six of the missions (Apollo 11, 12, 15, 16 and 17) achieved this goal from 1969 through 1972.

Apollos 7 and 9 were Earth orbiting missions that tested the Command and Lunar Modules, but did not return with data.

Apollos 8 and 10 tested various components while orbiting the moon that brought back photography of the lunar surface.

Apollo 13 was set to touchdown on the moon, but experience technical malfunctions that hindered the mission.

A total of 12 astronauts have left their boot marks on the lunar surface.

Although the all missions will forever be a part of history, Apollo 11 is what brought humans to the moon for the first time.

The goal of Apollo 11 was set by President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961.

He said: ‘We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.’

Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969, carrying Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin into an initial Earth-orbit of 114 by 116 miles.

Armstrong and Aldrin spent 21 hours, 36 minutes on the moon’s surface.

Re-entry procedures were initiated July 24, 44 hours after leaving lunar orbit.

Apollo 11 landed 13 degrees, 19 minutes north latitude and 169 degrees, nine minutes west longitude July 24, 1969.

 

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