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[b]Eileen Collins leaves NASA[/b]
The commander of the 2005 shuttle return to flight mission is leaving NASA. Eileen Collins, the first woman to pilot a space shuttle and the first woman to command a U.S. spacecraft, is retiring from the space agency.
Collins' departure is not unexpected. In the runup to the return to flight mission, she dodged the question of her possible retirement from the astronaut corps. At the same time, she noted that she had flown four times and that other, younger, and less frequent fliers needed to get experience before she needed a fifth flight.
NASA's press release on her retirement says she is off to pursue private interests and spend more time with her family.
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