Watch: Apollo 11 astronaut speaks on 50th anniversary of launch

Watch: Apollo 11 astronaut speaks on 50th anniversary of launch
Copyright Neil Armstrong/NASA/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
By Lauren Chadwick
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Astronaut Michael Collins returned to the Apollo 11 launch pad on the 50th anniversary of the mission to land on the moon.


On the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11's launch, astronaut Michael Collins spoke about the mission.

Collins, along with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, made up the historic team that completed a NASA mission to land on the moon.

Armstrong and Aldrin landed a lunar module on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission, while Michael Collins flew solo in orbit.

Armstrong was the first human to walk on the moon, followed closely by Aldrin.

Earlier in the day, the spacesuit Neil Armstrong wore as he took the first steps on the moon was unveiled at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Apollo 11 launched on July 16, 1969, and marked a huge moment in history and the space race.

Michael Collins recalls the Apollo 11 mission

Astronaut Michael Collins recalled the moments he spent alone while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the moon. Armstrong and Aldrin spent 21.5 hours on the moon while Collins flew the command module in orbit around them.

Collins said he was "not one iota lonely" during that time, explaining that he had "hot coffee" and "music if I wanted it".

He also said he "enjoyed the peace and quiet" during the certain times he spent without contact with Mission Control as he orbited the moon, saying that although they were "friends and saviours", they could be a nuisance with their "yak, yak, they want this, that and the other little tidbit of information, minute after minute, hour after hour".

Collins also commented on NASA's "Artemis" project to place astronauts on the moon and develop an "ongoing presence". Artemis is named after the Greek goddess of the moon and twin to Apollo. The project hopes to land the first woman on the moon, which Collins called a "wonderful concept".

Collins said he was much more interested in getting humans to Mars instead of back on the moon, but he said he understood the interest in returning to better understand the moon.

Remembering fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong, who died in 2012, Collins said the first man to walk on the moon was a superlative crew commander and amazing spokesperson as the group of three astronauts travelled the world following the mission.

"He was very intelligent. He had an extremely wide background of knowledge," Collins said.

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