I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. — Og Mandino

po_Collins-Eileen1Eileen Marie Collins (born November 19, 1956) is a retired NASA astronaut and a retired United States Air Force colonel.

A former military instructor and test pilot, Collins was the first female pilot and first female commander of a Space Shuttle. She was awarded several medals for her work. Colonel Collins has logged 38 days 8 hours and 10 minutes in outer space. Collins retired on May 1, 2006 to pursue private interests, including service as a board member of USAA.

Collins was selected to be an astronaut in 1992 and first flew the Space Shuttle as pilot in 1995 aboard STS-63, which involved a rendezvous between Discovery and the Russian space station Mir. In recognition of her achievement as the first female Shuttle Pilot, she received the Harmon Trophy. She was also the pilot for STS-84 in 1997.