NASA landed the first two astronauts on the moon on July 20, 1969, concluding the American Space Race to the Moon. The Apollo landing saw astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the Moon for the first time in the history of humanity. But the two astronauts were part of a three-man crew and without the pilot of the Michael Collins command module in lunar orbit, the Moon's landing would never have been a success. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the moon's landing, Mr. Collins unveiled an incredible photo that has not been around for half a century.
The retired astronaut shared this week on Twitter a photo of the three Apollo 11 astronauts posing together in front of a model of the Moon.
The picture shows the late Commander Armstrong, 89-year-old Aldrin Lunar Module pilot, and 88-year-old Mr. Collins.
Mr. Collins tweeted, "The crew. Found this at the bottom of a box. Do not think that this has already been used by @NASA. #TBT @TheRealBuz. "
The three NASA astronauts smiling in the group shot were all in their thirties when they made their historic trip to the moon.
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NASA Moon landing: astronaut Michael Collins discovered this photo 50 years ago
NASA Moon landing: Apollo 11 lands on the Moon on July 20, 1969
The photo of Mr. Collins also includes that of the astronaut.
NASA may not have used this image, but other iconic images from the same shoot have been used over the years.
The photo has now been seen by thousands of people who have congratulated Mr. Collins and his teammates.
Astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, head of the Italian virtual telescope project, tweeted: "Love it, Michael, thank you for sharing!"
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@Catpancake, a Twitter user, said, "Luckily NASA did not use this one. You would have hordes of screaming girls who followed you everywhere like the Beatles.
"Great photo, thank you for sharing that, sir.
And Wafa Sadri said, "This picture shows three good friends getting together on a historic journey. Such a human image, I love it. "
When Commander Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, Mr. Collins was left in charge of the lunar orbit control module.
READ MORE: Why did Apollo 11 move and flap its wings in space?
NASA Moon landing: Astronaut Apollo 11 found the photo in a box
Recounting his time spent orbiting the moon in total solitude, the astronaut informed the Smithsonian Museum of its passage to the back of the Moon.
L & # 39; crew. Found this at the bottom of a box. Do not think that this was used by NASA
He said: "It was a wonderful experience and it was nice in a way that we could not expect, but the fact that it was quiet, totally silent, was good, not wrong.
"It gave me a little time to control the mission to tell me this and that.
"So, I enjoyed the time by myself."
Prior to the Apollo program, Collins was a pilot of NASA's Gemini program.
And after the success of the Apollo 11 mission, the astronaut is definitely removed from spaceflight.
NASA said: "Collins retired from the Air Force as a major general and left NASA in 1970.
"He not only served as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, but also became Director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, from 1971 to 1978 and oversaw the construction and opening of the museum building. "
NASA Apollo 11 Team: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin
NASA Moon landing: Michael Collins retired from space flight in 1970
Some facts about NASA's Apollo 11 mission:
1. Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their achievements.
2. The three astronauts reported numerous examples of lunar rock that they had to declare at customs upon their return.
3. Apollo 11 took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on July 16, 1969.
In total, the crew of NASA Apollo 11 spent eight days in space during his historic journey.
5. NASA's Apollo 11 returned to Earth and plunged into the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969.