Who was the first female pilot and first female commander of a Space Shuttle?
Eileen Marie Collins (born November 19, 1956) is a retired National Aeronautics and Space Administration (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 20 minutes in outer space. Collins retired on May 1, 2006, to pursue private interests, including service as a board member of the United Services Automobile Association (USAA).
Collins was selected to be an astronaut in 1990 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". Collins was also the first female commander of a U.S. Spacecraft with Shuttle mission STS-93, launched in July 1999, which deployed the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.