An Astronaut in Elmira

07/07/2022

Eileen Collins to hold book signing at the National Soaring Museum on Saturday, July 9

Colonel Eileen M. Collins will be signing copies of her book, Through The Glass Ceiling to the Stars, in the lobby of the National Soaring Museum, 51 Soaring Hill Dr., Harris Hill, Elmira, New York from 10 a.m. thru 12 p.m. on Saturday, July 9.

Elmira native and NSM supporter, Eileen Collins, was an aviation pioneer her entire career, from her crowning achievements as the first woman to command an American space mission as well as the first to pilot the space shuttle, to her early years as one of the Air Force’s first female pilots. She was in the first class of women to earn pilot’s wings at Vance Air Force Base and was their first female instructor pilot. She was only the second woman admitted to the Air Force’s elite Test Pilot Program at Edwards Air Force Base. NASA had such confidence in her skills as a leader and pilot that she was entrusted to command the first shuttle mission after the Columbia disaster, returning the US to spaceflight after a two-year hiatus. Since retiring from the Air Force and NASA, she has served on numerous corporate boards and is an inspirational speaker about space exploration and leadership.

Eileen retired from the Air Force in 2005 and from NASA in 2006, having logged more than 6,751 hours in thirty different types of aircraft and spent 872 hours in space. She is the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross and NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal and was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame, among many other honors. Since retiring, she has traveled the world as a motivational speaker. Col. Collins serves as an advisor to the National Space Council and is a board member of the Astronauts Memorial  Foundation. She is married, with two children, and lives in San Antonio, Texas.       

Eileen’s co-author, Jonathan H. Ward, works to bring the thrill of the space program to life for the general public as a Solar System Ambassador for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and as a frequent speaker on space exploration topics to interest groups and at regional conferences. A fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, he is the coauthor, with Michael D. Leinbach, of Bringing Columbia Home and author of two previous books on space exploration. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.  

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