CAPE CANAVERAL, FL–July 23, 1999–Aviation Archives announced today that its’ 1999 Women in Aviation calendar was launched into space on board the Columbia for the historic mission, led by Col. Eileen Collins. The 1999 Women in Aviation calendar highlights Amelia Earhart and other noteworthy women pioneers in aviation and will become part of an historic collection maintained by Aviation Archives.
U.S.A.F. Colonel Eileen Marie Collins is the first woman ever selected to be a space shuttle pilot and a space mission commander. In the Air Force, she was a T-38 instructor pilot and a C-141 aircraft commander. Today she has flown more than 5,000 hours in more than 30 types of aircraft.
Space Shuttle Commander Collins, and her crew of STS-93, launched into space July 23, 1999 at 12:31 a.m. (EDT). She took with her the hopes and dreams of a nation of young people here on Earth, focusing attention on the achievements of women. Eileen said, “A lot of my success is based on the accomplishments of the women who came before me.”
Commander Collins grew up in a family with two brothers, a sister and “two very supportive parents.” About high school she said, “I began reading voraciously about famous pilots, from Amelia Earhart to Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) who played an important role in WWII.
Their stores inspired me. I admired the courage of these women to go and fly into dangerous situations!”
By 1977, Eileen had saved enough money to earn a pilot’s license. With good grades, flying experience and a letter of recommendation from her ROTC supervisor, she became one of the first women to go straight from college into Air Force pilot training. “That was by far the biggest break of my life,
getting into pilot training.” This is the point where Eileen set her goals on staying competitive for becoming an astronaut. She not only became an astronaut but also a wife and a mother.
At her official announcement as First Woman Space Shuttle Commander, Eileen said, “When I was a child, I dreamed about space – I admired pilots, astronauts, and I’ve admired explorers of all kinds. It was only a dream that I would someday be one of them. It is my hope that all children, boys and girls, will see this mission and be inspired to reach for their dreams, because dreams do come true!”
For a limited time only, an exact replica of the 1999 Women in Aviation calendar that was launched into space on mission STS-93 is available for order over the Internet.