Michael Collins, the third member of the team of astronauts to first land on the moon, died of cancer at 90 years old Wednesday, according to a statement from NASA.
Collins orbited the moon on July 16, 1969 while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, two Purdue graduates, took humankind's first steps on the moon. He was nicknamed 'loneliest man in history' for the feat.
“Today the nation lost a true pioneer and lifelong advocate for exploration in astronaut Michael Collins," NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk said. "As pilot of the Apollo 11 command module while his colleagues walked on the Moon for the first time, he helped our nation achieve a defining milestone. He also distinguished himself in the Gemini Program and as an Air Force pilot."