"This is one of the essential astronaut autobiographies." — National Space Society

“Well worth waiting for . . . She became famous for breaking the glass ceilings of the book’s title by being the first woman to be a shuttle pilot and a commander, but her accounts of the missions themselves are fascinating as well.” — Space Review

“Given the chance, I would long ponder trading places with Eileen Collins. Her book with Jonathan Ward is a grand collection of simple, yet sensational moments she experienced—in Outer Space!—and in much that led to her getting there. What a read!" — Tom Hanks

"“I wrote the song ‘Beyond the Sky’ and sang it at Cape Canaveral for Eileen Collins’s maiden command voyage: ‘Once there was a girl with a dream in her heart, wild as the wind was her hope.’ This woman with the dream has turned into a serious heroine of the centuries who has taken her place among other men and women in the startling adventure of circling the Earth and leaving it behind. You will love her book: it is exciting, personal, detailed, a good thriller, suspenseful as a Stephen King mystery, and full of hope—that rare quality we all search for. Yeehaw, Commander Collins! What a life you have led and what a tale you have told! Brava!” — Judy Collins, singer, songwriter, author

Eileen M. Collins is a former astronaut and a retired U.S. Air Force colonel.

She retired from the Air Force in Jan 2005 and from NASA in May 2006 after a 28-year distinguished career. A former military instructor and test pilot, Collins was the first female pilot and first female commander of a space shuttle.

Collins graduated from the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, in 1990. She was selected by NASA and became an astronaut in July 1991. After tours at Kennedy Space Center (shuttle launch and landing) and Johnson Space Center (shuttle engineer and capsule communicator), she flew the space shuttle as pilot in 1995 aboard Discovery. She was also the pilot for Atlantis in 1997, where her crew docked with the Russian Space Station MIR. Collins became the first woman commander of a U.S. spacecraft with shuttle mission Columbia in 1999, the deployment of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Her final space flight was as commander of Discovery in 2005, the "Return to Flight Mission" after the tragic loss of Columbia. She has logged more than 6,751 hours in 30 different types of aircraft and more than 872 hours in space as a veteran of four space flights.

Collins currently serves on several boards and advisory panels, is a professional speaker and an aerospace consultant. She is married with two children.

Collins is also a member of the Air Force Association, Order of Daedalians, Women Military Aviators, Women in Aviation International, U.S. Space Foundation, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Ninety-Nines.

The long-awaited memoir of trailblazer and role model Eileen Collins is now available for pre-order. Order now on Amazon.

"The atmosphere almost looks like an eggshell on an egg, it's so thin. We know that we don't have much air - we need to protect what we have."

Eileen Collins

"We want to explore. We're curious people. Look back over history, people have put their lives at stake to go out and explore ... We believe in what we're doing. Now it's time to go."

Eileen Collins