The Original Space Walker
Buzz Aldrin (born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr.; January 20, 1930) is an American engineer and former astronaut. As the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 11, he was one of the first two humans to land on the Moon, and the second person to walk on it. He set foot on the Moon at 03:15:16 on July 21, 1969 (UTC), following mission commander Neil Armstrong. He is a former U.S. Air Force officer with the Command Pilot rating. He also went into orbit on the Gemini 12 mission, finally achieving the goals for EVA (space-walk work) that paved the way to the Moon and success for the Gemini program; he spent over five hours on EVA on that mission.
Buzz Aldrin Rocket Man 🚀
Aldrin was born January 20, 1930, in Mountainside Hospital, in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. His parents were Edwin Eugene Aldrin Sr. (1896–1974), a career military man, and Marion Aldrin (née Moon, 1903–1968), who lived in neighboring Montclair. He is of Scottish, Swedish, and German ancestry. Aldrin was a Boy Scout and earned the rank of Tenderfoot Scout.
After graduating from Montclair High School in 1947, Aldrin turned down a full scholarship offer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (which he would later attend for graduate school), and went to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. The nickname “Buzz” originated in childhood: the younger of his two elder sisters mispronounced “brother” as “buzzer”, and this was shortened to Buzz. Aldrin made it his legal first name in 1988.
Aldrin graduated third in his class at West Point in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force and served as a jet fighter pilot during the Korean War. He flew 66 combat missions in F-86 Sabres and shot down two Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 aircraft. The June 8, 1953, issue of Life magazine featured gun camera photos taken by Aldrin of one of the Soviet pilots ejecting from his damaged aircraft.
Aldrin was selected as a member of the third group of NASA astronauts in October 1963. Because test pilot experience was no longer a requirement, this was the first selection for which he was eligible. After the deaths of the original Gemini 9 prime crew, Elliot See and Charles Bassett, Aldrin and Jim Lovell were promoted to backup crew for the mission. The main objective of the revised mission (Gemini 9A) was to rendezvous and dock with a target vehicle, but when this failed, Aldrin improvised an effective exercise for the craft to rendezvous with a co-ordinate in space. He was confirmed as pilot on Gemini 12, the last Gemini mission and the last chance to prove methods for extravehicular activity (EVA). He set a record for EVA, demonstrating that astronauts could work outside spacecraft.
Fun Facts 🛰
- In a 2010 Space Foundation survey, Aldrin was ranked as the No. 9 (tied with astronauts Gus Grissom and Alan Shepard) most popular space hero.
- In 2011, Aldrin was nominated for Best Cameo at the 2011 Scream Awards for his role playing himself in Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
- In 2011, Aldrin was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, along with his Apollo 11 crewmates, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins.
- In 2015, Aldrin was named as the Chancellor of the International Space University.
- In 2016, Aldrin’s hometown middle school in Montclair, New Jersey was renamed the Buzz Aldrin Middle School