Buzz Aldrin: Second man on the moon

Buzz Aldrin is a veteran astronaut who became only the second person to set foot on the moon. As part of the Apollo 11 space flight commanded by Neil Armstrong, he made the trip to the lunar surface in July 1969 where he collected lunar rock samples, photographed the terrain and helped hoist an American flag according to Nasa. As such, the former fighter pilot and engineer quickly rose to fame, but he continued to promote space exploration long after he left NASA. In 2016 he also explored Antarctic – an experience that almost killed him.

Early life

Buzz Aldrin was born in the United States on January 20, 1930 in Montclair, New Jersey, according to Johnson Space Center (JSC), NASA. His name was actually Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr., in honor of his father (aviator and US Army officer Edwin Eugene Aldrin Sr), but when one of the younger’s two older sisters, Fay Ann , began to mispronounce the nickname of “brother” as “buzzer”, abbreviated as Buzz, soon blocked according to

His entire family, including his mother Marion and older sister Madeleine, called him Buzz and he loved her so much that he used it himself, eventually making his first name legal in 1988, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. During his childhood, however, he did not show a great interest in space. He was intrigued by science fiction – Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon in particular – but he didn’t look up to the night sky with a great desire to explore, Aldrin said in an interview in 1988.

Apollo 11 training

The Apollo 11 crew participate in water evacuation training in the Gulf of Mexico. (Image credit: Getty)

Education and military experience

Growing up in Montclair, New Jersey, Aldrin was a bright and athletic child. He graduated from Montclair High School a year earlier, and in 1947 he enrolled in the United States Military Academy, also known as West Point, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. science in mechanical Engineering, according to Joining the US Air Force, he served with distinction as a jet fighter pilot during the Korean War which raged between 1950 and 1953. He flew a total of 66 combat missions aboard F-86 Sabers. and shot down two enemy MiG-15 planes, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

The Korean War ended on July 27, 1953 with an armistice that ended hostilities. Aldrin then spent some time in service in West Germany in command of Super Sabers F100, jet fighters introduced in 1954 and capable of achieving supersonic speed in level flight. Deciding to return to university in 1959, he obtained a doctorate of science in astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Shortly after graduating four years later, after writing a 311-page thesis titled Line-of-Sight Guidance Techniques for Manned Orbital Rendezvous, according to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, he was selected by NASA to become an astronaut. It was the second time he applied, inspired by his friend Gemini and Apollo astronaut Ed White, Aldrin said in a tweet in March 2020.

Space race

Since 1955, the United States and the Soviet Union had been engaged in a space race. That year, President Dwight D Eisenhower’s press secretary James Hagerty announced America’s intention to launch a scientific study. Satellite and this prompted the Soviets to act, according to NASA History Division – the USSR’s Sputnik 1 satellite was sent into space two years later, according to The two sides faced off in a competition to demonstrate their respective technological might, and in 1961 the USSR again stole a march when Yuri Gagarin became the first human to go to space.

Buzz Aldrin Spacewalk

Buzz Aldrin performed three spacewalks on the Gemini 12 space flight on November 12, 13, and 14, 1966 totaling 5.5 hours. (Image credit: Getty)

That year, President John F Kennedy announced his intention to send a man to the moon and bring him back safe and sound to Earth, according to Nasa. To aid such a mission, Aldrin drew on the knowledge gained during his thesis and worked on docking and rendezvous techniques for spacecraft in Earth and lunar orbit. Becoming known as Dr Rendezvous, Aldrin also pioneered underwater training techniques to simulate a spacewalk that would prepare astronauts to work in a zero gravity environment, according to NASA.

In 1966, Environmental Research Associates paid McDonogh – a private military school for boys in Maryland – $ 10 an hour to rent his swimming pool and Aldrin dived for underwater exercises, according to McDonogh. Along with fellow astronaut Jim Lovell, he had been assigned to the tenth and final flight in the Gemini series, Gemini 12, which launched on November 11, 1966. According to NASA Spatial scientific data and coordinated archives, underwater training paved the way for Aldrin to complete three successful spacewalks, extra-vehicular activities that saw him spend more than five and a half hours outside of a spacecraft.

Apollo 11

NASA also set up the Apollo space program. It was a three-person spacecraft as opposed to the two-person Project Gemini, and its main purpose was to land astronauts on the moon. Aldrin became a member of the Apollo 8 backup crew, according to NASA, after being named a Command Module Pilot, and he worked with Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Fred W Haise Jr.

The Apollo 11 crew

The Apollo 11 crew (left to right): Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. (Image credit: Getty)

Although Apollo 8 did not see him venture into space, Aldrin’s time would come with Apollo 11 which launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969. He was the lunar module pilot, Armstrong was the commander and Michael Collins was the command module pilot, according to NASA.

On the moon

This mission made history, landing with just 30 seconds of fuel in the landing tank and going four miles past the planned location, according to Armstrong set foot on the moon first, followed by Aldrin 19 minutes later. According to Science and Media Museum, the event was watched by around 650 million people on television, and Aldrin would describe the moon as “magnificent desolation.”

Since then there have been reports that Aldrin also claimed to have seen aliens traveling to the lunar surface, but this is not true, Previously reported live science. Although he saw an unidentified object, it was quickly explained as the sun reflecting off a sign that had been dropped earlier: “The UFOs in the United States have gotten very angry with me,” he said. he writes on Reddit.

Buzz Aldrin on the moon

Buzz Aldrin was the second human to set foot on the moon because NASA believed Neil Armstrong’s seniority meant he had to come first. (Image credit: Getty)

The work of Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins was more important than simply allowing NASA to gain the upper hand over their Soviet counterparts. Aldrin and Armstrong spent 21 hours and 36 minutes on the lunar surface, according to NASA Presentation of the Apollo 1 mission, (Collins remained in orbit on the command module) and they used the time to collect samples as well as take photos and videos. According to Smithsonian, they also carried out experiments, took a phone call from President Richard Nixon and planted the American flag. As an elder of the Webster Presbyterian Church, Aldrin also celebrated Christian fellowship on the moon, having taken bread and wine with him.

He and Armstrong almost didn’t come back to the surface, however. A circuit breaker shut off the dashboard and they had to find a way to push it back so the ascent motor could come on. Aldrin decided to use a felt-tip pen and it worked, according to When the astronauts finally returned to Earth, they were treated like heroes and set off on a world tour.

Although Aldrin was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and helped design the space shuttle, he didn’t like to be in the limelight. He retired from NASA in 1971 to return to the Air Force, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. He then retired from active service the following year.

Dancing with the stars

Aldrin’s life has taken a turn for the worse. He had retired from the Air Force because he had been asked to command a test pilot school, even though he had never actually taken test pilot training. He also still accepted the death of his mother who had committed suicide in May 1968, according to

Turning to alcohol to cope with depression, he divorced his first wife Joan Archer in 1974, according to He married Beverly Zile in 1975 (divorcing three years later) but got sober in 1979 and began to take charge of his life.

Buzz Aldrin and Lois Cannon

Buzz Aldrin has been married three times. He married his third wife Lois Cannon (pictured) in 1998 and divorced in 2012. Aldrin had three children with his first wife, Joan Archer: James, Janice and Andrew. (Image credit: Getty)

He had long dreamed that humans would one day settle permanently on Mars (he has a t-shirt that says “Get Your Ass to Mars”) and this led him to develop a system called Aldrin Mars Cycler which, according to him, would be capable of regular flights to the red planet, Aldrin said in a conversation with

Aldrin also holds a number of patents, including one for multi-crew modules for space flight, a space station installation and a feedback booster, according to JUSTIA Patents. The Aldrin Space Institute, formed in 2015 at the Florida Institute of Technology, also focuses on a human presence on Mars.

Not that there wasn’t time for a lot of frivolous fun along the way. Aldrin appeared in Dancing with the Stars on ABC in 2010 and he made numerous other film, television and video game appearances from The Big Bang Theory and 30 Rock to The Simpsons and Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, according to IMDb. He has also written numerous books, named an asteroid and a lunar crater in his name, and received the Congressional Gold Medal. He calls himself a global statesman for space, according to NASA.


In addition, his appetite for exploration has not wavered. In 1998, he went to North Pole and, in 2016, Aldrin visited Antarctica, plotting his journey on his Twitter account. However, he developed altitude sickness at 9,000 feet shortly after arriving and was rushed to a hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he remained for a week suffering from fluid. on his lungs, according to Respond well to antibiotics, he recovered and said he had no regrets. He was the oldest person to have traveled to the South Pole, after all.

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