- NAME: Buzz Aldrin
- OCCUPATION: Astronaut
- BIRTH DATE: January 20, 1930 (Age: 84)
- Did You Know?: Aldrin once punched a man in the face for claiming that the Moon landings weren't fabricated.
- Did You Know?: Aldrin's mother's maiden name was Moon.
- EDUCATION: Montclair High School, West Point Military Academy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Montclair, New Jersey
- Originally: Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr.
- AKA: Buzz Aldrin
- AKA: Edwin Aldrin Jr.
- AKA: Edwin Aldrin
- Full Name: Buzz Eugene Aldrin
- ZODIAC SIGN: Aquarius
Best Known For
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin was one of the first people to walk on the moon. He and flight commander Neil Armstrong made the Apollo 11 moonwalk in 1969.
Buzz Aldrin talks to Dr. Steve Gillan about why he became an astronaut, his schooling and how president Kennedy's speech about putting a man on the moon inspired him.
40 years after his first walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong was honored, along with fellow Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, by President Barack Obama at the White House. (Video courtesy of the White House)
Neil Armstrong joined the organization that would become NASA in 1962 and was command pilot for his first mission, Gemini VIII, in 1966. He was spacecraft commander for Apollo 11 and the first man to walk on the moon.
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Buzz Aldrin was born on January 20, 1930, in Montclair, New Jersey. His father, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, encouraged his interest in flight. Aldrin became a fighter pilot and flew in the Korean War. In 1963, he was selected by NASA to for the next Gemini mission. In 1969, along with Neil Armstrong, they made history with the Apollo 11 mission when they walked on the moon.
Famed astronaut Buzz Aldrin was born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr. on January 20, 1930 in Montclair, New Jersey, to Edwin Eugene Aldrin Sr. and Marion (Moon) Aldrin. His earned his nickname, "Buzz," in childhood: His little sister mispronounced the word "brother" as "buzzer," and his family shortened the nickname to "Buzz." Aldrin would make it his legal first name in 1988.
His mother, Marion Moon, was the daughter of an Army chaplain. His father, Edwin Eugene Aldrin, was a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. In 1947, Buzz graduated from Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey, and headed to West Point Military Academy in New York. He took well to the discipline and strict regimens, and was the first in his class his freshman year. He graduated was third in his class in 1951 with a BS in mechanical engineering.
Aldrin's father felt his son should continue on to multiengine flight school so that he could eventually take charge of his own flight crew, but Buzz wanted to become a fighter pilot. His father relented to his son's wishes, and after a summer of hitching around Europe on military planes, Buzz officially entered the United States Air Force in 1951. He again scored near the top of his class in flight school, and began fighter training later that year.
During his time in the military, Aldrin joined the 51st Fighter Wing, where he flew F-86 Sabre Jets in 66 combat missions in Korea. During the Korean war, F-86 planes fought to defend South Korea from the invasion of Communist forces in North Korea. Aldrin's wing was responsible for breaking the enemy "kills" record during combat, when they shot down 61 enemy MiGs and grounded 57 others in one month of combat. Aldrin shot down two MiGs, and was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service during the war.
After a cease-fire was declared between North and South Korea in 1953, Aldrin returned home. He returned to school—this time, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—where he planned to complete a master's degree and then apply for test pilot school. Instead, he earned a Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics, graduating in 1963. His thesis subject "Line-of-sight guidance techniques for manned orbital rendezvous" was the study of bringing piloted spacecraft into close proximity with each other.
His specialized study of rendezvous helped to earn him entry into the space program shortly after graduation. In 1963, Aldrin was part of a third group of men selected by NASA to attempt to pioneer space flight. Aldrin was put in charge of creating docking and rendezvous techniques for spacecraft.
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