Eileen Collins

On what’s ailing NASA.

Evan Smith: Your application to become an astronaut was approved all the way back in 1990. How hard is it going to be to leave?

Eileen Collins: I’ve spent sixteen years in a wonderful series of jobs—my four space missions and the support jobs I’ve done before and in between. The people [at NASA] are very intelligent and dedicated, and they’re passionate about the space program. It’s going to be hard to leave this. So your next question is probably, “Why are you leaving?”

ES: As a matter of fact, yes.

EC: I do love it, but I have a responsibility to my family. This job is a lifestyle. It’s your life. And I need a little bit of downtime to spend with my family and to straighten out my home life—meaning, you know, I need to get the house painted. I need to get the lawn worked on.

ES: There are people you can pay to do that.

EC: I’ve been paying people to do that since my daughter was born ten and a half years ago, but at some point you need to intervene. I have memorabilia

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...