On the night of February 3, 1995, the dark skies around Kennedy Space Center in Florida light up as the space shuttle Discovery lifted off on its 20th mission to outer space. The launch represented an historic moment for NASA and the space program; it was the first Space Shuttle mission piloted by a female astronaut – Eileen Collins. Today’s throwback Thursday photograph shows Collins at the pilot’s station during that historic flight.
Lt. Col. Collins was born in Elmira, New York where she attended Elmira Free Academy. Collins had a very successful career with the Air Force and NASA, logging over 872 hours in space. In 1999, she made another historic flight as the first female commander of a U.S. spacecraft, and retired from NASA in 2006.
Image Credit: NASA