Eileen Collins

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Eileen Collins

Eileen Collins (b. 19 November, 1956) was the first female pilot and first female commander of a Space Shuttle. She was born in Elmira, New York. As a child, Collins expressed an interest both in spaceflight and in being a pilot. She graduated from Syracuse University in 1978 and then earned a master of science degree in operations research from Stanford University in 1986 and a master of arts degree in space systems management from Webster University in 1989.

Collins first flew the shuttle as pilot in 1995 aboard STS-63, which involved a rendezvous between Discovery and the Russian space station Mir. In recognition of her achievement as the first shuttle pilot, she received the Harmon Trophy

Collins also commanded STS-93, launched in July 1999, which deployed the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. This was shuttle Columbia's next-to-last completed mission, the final one being STS-109, which flew in March 2002.

Collins is slated to command STS-114.

The main entrance boulevard to Syracuse Hancock International Airport is named in her honor.

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