Buzz Aldrin

From Academic Kids

Buzz in the LM
Buzz in the LM

Colonel Edwin Eugene "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., Ph.D (born January 20, 1930) is an American pilot and astronaut who became the second man to set foot on the Moon (after Neil Armstrong) during the Apollo 11 mission, the first manned lunar landing.



Early years

Aldrin was born in Montclair, New Jersey. He graduated from Montclair High School and attended the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. He graduated third in his class in 1951 with a bachelor of science degree. Aldrin was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and served as a jet fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, where he flew 66 combat missions in F-86 Sabres and shot down two Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 aircraft. After leaving Korea, Aldrin was an aerial gunnery instructor at Nellis Air Force Base in southern Nevada, and later an aide to the dean of faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy. After leaving this assignment, Aldrin flew F-100 Super Sabres as a flight commander at Bitburg, Germany.

Military career

Aldrin left military service to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, where he earned his doctorate of science in Astronautics. His graduate thesis was "Guidance for Manned Orbital Rendezvous." After leaving MIT, he returned to the Air Force and was assigned to the Gemini Target Office of the Air Force Space Systems Division in Los Angeles, and later to Edwards Air Force Base at the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School. In March 1972, Aldrin retired from active duty after 21 years of service.


He was selected as an astronaut in 1963; on the Gemini 12 orbital mission, he set a record for extra-vehicular activity. He utilized revolutionary techniques during training for that mission, including neutrally-buoyant underwater training. Such techniques are still used today. He is most famous for walking on the moon. His autobiography Return to Earth provides an account of his struggles with depression and alcoholism in the years following his NASA career.

Buzz walks on the surface of the Moon during Apollo 11.
Buzz walks on the surface of the Moon during Apollo 11.

Time as an astronaut

Aldrin has had a much more public persona than Neil Armstrong, and it is said that originally it was he who would be first out onto the surface. Buzz is well known for having a mystical side, being a Freemason, and for having made statements about God -- in contrast to Yuri Gagarin, who was always avowedly atheist.


Since retiring from NASA, he has continued to promote space exploration, including producing a unique computer strategy game called "Race into Space" (1992).

Aldrin also teamed up with science fiction author John Barnes to write Encounter With Tiber and The Return.

In 2002, President Bush appointed Aldrin to the Presidential Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry[1] (

In September, 2002, conspiracy theorist Bart Sibrel's repeated demands (over several years) that astronaut Aldrin swear an oath on the Bible that he had walked on the Moon, or admit that it was all a hoax, came to a head. Aldrin had repeatedly refused to take this oath, and Sibrel's tactics with Aldrin and several other Apollo astronauts have been confrontational. Sibrel often gained access to the astronauts by lying, claiming to represent organizations that he does not, and assuming false identities. When he approached Aldrin in September 2002, he cornered Aldrin and a young female relative, stood in their way as they tried to leave the area and shouted directly in Aldrin's face, shoving a Bible into Aldrin's ribs several times, calling Aldrin a "liar, a coward and a thief". Aldrin punched Sibrel in the face, claiming that he felt forced to defend himself and his companion. Sibrel suffered no permanent injury. Although the Beverly Hills police investigated the incident, charges were dismissed. Admirers of Aldrin applauded the 72-year old former astronaut's actions.
Aldrin near module leg
Aldrin near module leg

A small crater on the Moon near the Apollo 11 landing site is named in his honor.

He also has a TV star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood and Vine.

He voiced himself in "Deep Space Homer", an episode of The Simpsons in which he flies into space with Homer Simpson and fictional astronaut Race Banyon.

Aldrin is a descendent of blacksmiths from Wermelandia, Sweden.

External link

de:Edwin Aldrin eo:Buzz ALDRIN fr:Buzz Aldrin gl:Buzz Aldrin it:Buzz Aldrin ja:エドウィン・オルドリン he:אדווין (באז) אולדרין nl:Edwin Aldrin pl:Buzz Aldrin pt:Edwin Aldrin simple:Buzz Aldrin fi:Buzz Aldrin sv:Edwin Aldrin


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