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Space pioneer speaking at ECU

By Katherine Ayers

The Daily Reflector

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The first woman to pilot and command a space shuttle is scheduled to visit East Carolina University on Tuesday and speak at 7 p.m. in Wright Auditorium as part of the Voyages of Discovery Space Exploration lecture series.

Col. Eileen Collins piloted the STS-63 Discoveryin 1995 and, in 1999, commanded the STS-93 Columbia. In July 2005, following the 2003 Columbia disaster, she commanded her last flight on the STS-114 Discoveryas part of a “Return to Flight” mission.

In a phone interview Friday, Collins said she did not set out to break any career barriers for women. She just knew she wanted to fly. In 1978, she was commissioned as an Air Force officer out of the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Syracuse University. That also was the first year the Air Force started recruiting women out of college to pilot training. Before then, the Air Force picked women already on active duty.

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Bless your heart
Bless your heart