- 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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He also pioneered underwater training techniques, to simulate flight in zero gravity.
In 1966, Aldrin and astronaut Jim Lovell were assigned to the Gemini 12 crew. During their November 11 to November 15, 1966, space flight, Aldrin made a five-hour spacewalk—the longest and most successful spacewalk ever done up to that time. He also used his rendezvous abilities to manually recalculate all the docking maneuvers on the flight, after the on-board radar failed.
After Gemini 12,
Aldrin was assigned to the back-up crew of Apollo 8 along with Neil Armstrong and Harrison "Jack" Schmitt. On July 20, 1969, Buzz, along with flight commander Neil Armstrong, made the historic Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on another planet. They spent a total of 21 hours on the moon's surface, and returned with 46 pounds of moon rocks. The walk, which was televised, drew an estimated 600 million people to watch, becoming the world's largest television audience in history.
Upon their safe return to Earth, Buzz was decorated with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, followed by a 45-day international goodwill tour. Among their distinguished honors and medals, Buzz and his Apollo 11 crew also have four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in California.
On March 1972, after 21 years of service, Aldrin retired from active duty and returned to the Air Force in a managerial role. He later admitted in his 1973 autobiography, Return to Earth, that he struggled with depression and alcoholism following his years with NASA. After struggling with divorce and maintaining sobriety, Aldrin turned to studying advancements in space technology. He devised a spacecraft system for missions to Mars known as the "Aldrin Mars Cycler," and has received three US patents for his schematics of a modular space station, Starbooster reusable rockets, and multi-crew modules. He also founded ShareSpace Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to advancing space education, exploration and affordable space flight experiences.
Aldrin has also written several more books. In addition to his autobiography, Return to Earth, the astronaut penned Magnificient Desolation, a memoir that hit bookshelves in 2009—just in time for the 40th anniversary of his historic moon landing. He has also written several children's books, including Reaching for the Moon and Look to the Stars; two science fiction novels, The Return and Encounter with Tiber; and the historical documentary, Men from Earth.
Now in his 80s, Aldrin still maintains a busy schedule. He gives lectures and makes numerous appearances. Aldrin competed on Dancing with the Stars in 2010, showing the world that the senior astronaut still has some impressive moves. He has also had guest spots on such shows as 30 Rock, and collaborated with Snoop Dogg to create the song "Rocket Experience" to promote space exploration to young people.
Aldrin has been married three times. His first wife was actress Joan Archer, followed by Beverly Zile. He married his third wife, Lois Driggs Cannon, on Valentine's Day in 1988. The couple announced plans to divorce in 2011.
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