Eileen Collins Biography

Eileen Collins

Born: Nov. 19, 1956
Birthplace: Elmira, New York

Eileen Collins earned her pilot’s license while in college.Her grades and flight experience helped her to become one of the first women to go straight from college into Air Force pilot training. She served as a pilot instructor and taught mathematics at the Air Force Academy. She has logged over 5,000 hours in more than 30 different types of aircraft. Collins became an astronaut in 1991, originally working in engineering support. With three space shuttle missions under her belt, Collins has two firsts: in 1995 she was the first woman to pilot a shuttle and in 1999 she became the first woman to command a shuttle mission. In 2005, she commanded NASA's first space shuttle flight since the Columbia tragedy.