She has received numerous awards for her achievements, including the famous Harmon Trophy.
On February 3, 1995, American Eileen Collins became the first woman to ever operate the Space Shuttle. In doing so, she also became the first American in history to operate a spacecraft. She was the pilot of the Space Shuttle mission STS-63, launched just today in 1995 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Eileen Collins was born in 1956 in Elmiri, New York (not far from the Pennsylvania border). As a child she was a member of the Girl Scout, and at a young age became a pilot. In fact, she became a military pilot and even a flight instructor on military aircraft. She joined the astronaut program in 1990, in her 30s.
On the mission that was launched that day, Eileen Collins operated a Shuttle that merged with the Russian space station Mir. She has received numerous awards for her achievements, including the famous Harmon Trophy (formerly awarded by Charles Lindbergh).