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Buzz Aldrin (; born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr., January 20, 1930) is an American former
astronaut An astronaut (from the Greek "astron" (ἄστρον), meaning "star", and "nautes" (ναύτης), meaning "sailor") is a person trained, equipped, and deployed by a List of human spaceflight programs, human spaceflight program to serve as a ...

astronaut
,
engineer Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are Professional, professionals who Invention, invent, design, analyze, build and test Machine, machines, complex systems, architecture, structures, gadgets and materials to fulfill functional objecti ...

engineer
and
fighter pilot A fighter pilot is a Military aviation, military aviator trained to engage in air-to-air combat, Air-to-ground weaponry, air-to-ground combat and sometimes Electronic-warfare aircraft, electronic warfare while in the cockpit of a fighter aircraf ...

fighter pilot
. Aldrin made three
spacewalks Extravehicular activity (EVA) is any activity done by an astronaut or cosmonaut outside a spacecraft 275px, The US Space Shuttle flew 135 times from 1981 to 2011, supporting Spacelab, ''Mir'', the Hubble Space Telescope, and the ISS. (''C ...
as pilot of the 1966
Gemini 12 Gemini 12 (officially Gemini XII) With Gemini IV, NASA changed to Roman numerals for Gemini mission designations. was a 1966 crewed spaceflight Human spaceflight (also referred to as manned spaceflight or crewed spaceflight) is spaceflight ...
mission, and as the
lunar module The Apollo Lunar Module, or simply Lunar Module (LM ), originally designated the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM), was the lander spacecraft that was flown between lunar orbit and the Moon's surface during the U.S. Apollo program The Apollo p ...

lunar module
pilot on the 1969
Apollo 11 Apollo 11 was the spaceflight Spaceflight (or space flight) is an application of astronautics to fly spacecraft into or through outer space, either human spaceflight, with or uncrewed spaceflight, without humans on board. Most spacefli ...

Apollo 11
mission, he and mission commander
Neil Armstrong Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) was an American astronaut An astronaut (from the Greek "astron" (ἄστρον), meaning "star", and "nautes" (ναύτης), meaning "sailor") is a person trained, equipp ...

Neil Armstrong
were the first two people to land on the
Moon The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite. At about one-quarter the diameter of Earth (comparable to the width of Australia (continent), Australia), it is the largest natural satellite in the Solar System relative to the size of its plane ...

Moon
. Born in
Glen Ridge, New Jersey Glen Ridge is a Borough (New Jersey), borough in Essex County, New Jersey, Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 7,527, reflecting an increase of 256 (+3.5%) from the 7,271 coun ...
, Aldrin graduated third in the class of 1951 from the
United States Military Academy The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point or simply Army is a four-year United States service academy in West Point, New York West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in the United Stat ...
at West Point, with a degree in
mechanical engineering Mechanical engineering is an engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineerin ...

mechanical engineering
. He was commissioned into the
United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosph ...

United States Air Force
, and served as a jet fighter pilot during the
Korean War The Korean War (see § Names) was a war fought between North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It b ...

Korean War
. He flew 66 combat missions and shot down two
MiG-15 The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 (russian: Микоян и Гуревич МиГ-15; USAF/DoD designation: Type 14; NATO reporting name NATO reporting names are code names for military equipment from Russia, China, and historically, the Eastern B ...
aircraft. After earning a
Sc.D. :''For the degree granted by Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all o ...
degree in
astronautics Astronautics (or cosmonautics) is the theory and practice of travel beyond Earth's atmosphere File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that toget ...
from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, aft ...
, Aldrin was selected as a member of
NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in differen ...

NASA
's Astronaut Group 3, making him the first astronaut with a doctoral degree. His doctoral thesis was ''Line-of-Sight Guidance Techniques for Manned Orbital Rendezvous'', earning him the nickname "Dr. Rendezvous" from fellow astronauts. His first space flight was in 1966 on
Gemini 12 Gemini 12 (officially Gemini XII) With Gemini IV, NASA changed to Roman numerals for Gemini mission designations. was a 1966 crewed spaceflight Human spaceflight (also referred to as manned spaceflight or crewed spaceflight) is spaceflight ...
during which he spent over five hours on
extravehicular activity Extravehicular activity (EVA) is any activity done by an astronaut or cosmonaut outside a spacecraft 275px, The US Space Shuttle flew 135 times from 1981 to 2011, supporting Spacelab, ''Mir'', the Hubble Space Telescope, and the ISS. (''C ...
. Three years later, Aldrin set foot on the Moon at 03:15:16 on July 21, 1969 ( UTC), nineteen minutes after Armstrong first touched the surface, while
command module pilot Astronauts hold a variety of ranks and positions. Each of these roles carries responsibilities that are essential to the operation of a spacecraft. A spacecraft's cockpit, filled with sophisticated equipment, requires skills differing from those us ...
Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit. A
Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of ...
elder An elder is someone with a degree of seniority or authority. Elder or elders may refer to: Positions Administrative * Elder (administrative title), a position of authority Cultural * American Indian elder, a person who has and transmits cul ...
, Aldrin became the first person to hold a religious ceremony on the Moon when he privately took
communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, reenacting the Last Supper **Communion (chant), the Gregorian chant that acc ...

communion
. Upon leaving NASA in 1971, Aldrin became Commandant of the
U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School The U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School (USAF TPS) is the Air Force's advanced flight training school that trains experimental test pilots, flight test engineers, and flight test navigators to carry out tests and evaluations of new aerospace we ...
. He retired from the Air Force in 1972, after 21 years of service. His autobiographies ''Return to Earth'' (1973), and '' Magnificent Desolation'' (2009), recount his struggles with
clinical depression Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known simply as depression, is a characterized by at least two weeks of pervasive , low , and in normally enjoyable activities. Those affected may also occasionally have s or s. Introduced by a group of ...
and
alcoholism Alcoholism is, broadly, any drinking of alcohol In , alcohol is an that carries at least one (−OH) bound to a atom. The term alcohol originally referred to the primary alcohol (ethyl alcohol), which is and is the main alcoho ...
in the years after leaving NASA. He continued to advocate for space exploration, particularly a
human mission to Mars The idea of sending humans to Mars Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, being larger than only Mercury (planet), Mercury. In English, Mars carries the name of the Mars (mythology), ...
, and developed the
Aldrin cycler
Aldrin cycler
, a special spacecraft
trajectory A trajectory or flight path is the path that an with in follows through as a function of time. In , a trajectory is defined by via ; hence, a complete trajectory is defined by position and momentum, simultaneously. The mass might be a or ...

trajectory
that makes travel to Mars more efficient in regard to time and propellant. He has been accorded numerous honors, including the
Presidential Medal of Freedom The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs th ...

Presidential Medal of Freedom
in 1969.


Early life

Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr. was born on January 20, 1930, at Mountainside Hospital in Glen Ridge,
New Jersey New Jersey is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic States, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, Northeastern regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York (state), New York; on the ea ...
. His parents, Edwin Eugene Aldrin Sr. and Marion Aldrin ( Moon), lived in neighboring
MontclairMontclair is a toponym which is French for ''clear mountain''. It may refer to: Places in the United States *Montclair, New Jersey **Montclair Art Museum **Montclair State University **Upper Montclair, New Jersey **Montclair Public Library * Mont ...
. His father was an Army aviator during
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
and the assistant commandant of the Army's test pilot school at
McCook Field McCook Field was an airfield and aviation experimentation station in Dayton, Ohio Dayton () is the sixth-largest city in the state of Ohio and the county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital cit ...
, Ohio, from 1919 to 1922, but left the Army in 1928 and became an executive at
Standard Oil Standard Oil Co. was an American oil An oil is any nonpolar In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements th ...

Standard Oil
. Aldrin had two sisters: Madeleine, who was four years older, and Fay Ann, who was a year and a half older. His nickname, which became his legal first name in 1988, arose as a result of Fay's mispronouncing "brother" as "buzzer", which was then shortened to "Buzz". He was a
Boy Scout A Scout (in some countries a Boy Scout, Girl Scout, or Pathfinder) is a child, usually 10–18 years of age, participating in the worldwide Scouting movement. Because of the large age and Developmental psychology, development span, many Scouti ...
, achieving the rank of Tenderfoot Scout. Aldrin did well in school, maintaining an A average. He played
football Football is a family of s that involve, to varying degrees, a to score a . Unqualified, normally means the form of football that is the most popular where the word is used. Sports commonly called ''football'' include (known as ''soccer'' ...
and was the starting
center Center or centre may refer to: Mathematics *Center (geometry) In geometry, a centre (or center) (from Ancient Greek language, Greek ''κέντρον'') of an object is a point in some sense in the middle of the object. According to the speci ...
for Montclair High School's undefeated 1946 state champion team. His father wanted him to go to the
United States Naval Academy The United States Naval Academy (USNA, Annapolis, or simply Navy) is a federal service academy adjacent to Annapolis Annapolis ( ) is the capital of the U.S. state of , as well as the of . Situated on the at the mouth of the , south ...

United States Naval Academy
in
Annapolis, Maryland Annapolis ( ) is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland Maryland ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia ...
and enrolled him at nearby
Severn School Severn School was founded in 1914 by Roland M. Teel in Severna Park, Maryland, as a University-preparatory school, preparatory school for the United States Naval Academy. In 2013, Severn School merged with nearby Chesapeake Academy. Currently the s ...
, a preparatory school for Annapolis and even secured him an appointment from Albert W. Hawkes, one of the
United States Senator The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is Bicameralism, bicameral, comprising a lower body, the ...
s from New Jersey. Aldrin attended Severn School in 1946, but had other ideas about his future career. He suffered from seasickness and considered ships a distraction from flying airplanes. He faced down his father and told him to ask Hawkes to change the nomination to the
United States Military Academy The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point or simply Army is a four-year United States service academy in West Point, New York West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in the United Stat ...
at
West Point, New York West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in the United States. Located on the Hudson River The Hudson River is a that flows from north to south primarily through eastern in the United States. It originates in the of ...
. Aldrin entered West Point in 1947. He did well academically, finishing first in his class his plebe (first) year. He was a member of the academy
track and field Track and field is a sport that includes Competition#Sports, athletic contests based on running, jumping, and throwing skills. The name is derived from where the sport takes place, a running track and a grass field for the throwing and some o ...
team. In 1950, he traveled with a group of West Point cadets to Japan and the Philippines to study the military government policies of
Douglas MacArthur , birth_date = , birth_place = Little Rock, Arkansas (The Little Rock, The "Little Rock") , government_type = council-manager government, Council-manager , leader_title = List of mayors of Lit ...

Douglas MacArthur
. During his trip, the
Korean War The Korean War (see § Names) was a war fought between North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It b ...

Korean War
broke out. On June 5, 1951, he graduated third in the class of 1951 with a
Bachelor of Science A Bachelor of Science (BS, BSc, SB, or ScB; from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare' ...
degree in
mechanical engineering Mechanical engineering is an engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineerin ...

mechanical engineering
.


Military career

As one of the highest-ranking members of the class, Aldrin had his choice of assignments. He chose the
United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosph ...

United States Air Force
, which had become a separate service in 1947 while Aldrin was still at West Point and did not yet have its own academy. He was commissioned as a
second lieutenant Second lieutenant is a junior Officer (armed forces), commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces, comparable to NATO OF-1a rank. Australia The rank of second lieutenant existed in the Colonial forces of Australia, military forces of ...
, and underwent basic flight training in
T-6 Texan The North American Aviation T-6 Texan is an American single-engined advanced trainer aircraft A trainer is a class of aircraft designed specifically to facilitate flight training of pilots and aircrews. The use of a dedicated trainer aircraf ...

T-6 Texan
s at Bartow Air Base in
Florida Florida is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia (U.S. state), Geor ...

Florida
. His classmates included
Sam Johnson Samuel Robert Johnson (October 11, 1930May 27, 2020) was an American politician who served as the U.S. representative The United States House of Representatives is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral l ...

Sam Johnson
, who later became a
prisoner of war A prisoner of war (POW) is a non-combatant Non-combatant is a term of art Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular Context (language use), c ...
in Vietnam; the two became friends. At one point, Aldrin attempted a double
Immelmann turn The term Immelmann turn, named after German World War One Eindecker fighter ace Lieutnant Max Immelmann, refers to two different aircraft maneuvers. In World War I aerial combat, an Immelmann turn was a maneuver used after an attack on another ...

Immelmann turn
in a
T-28 Trojan The North American Aviation T-28 Trojan is a radial-engined military trainer aircraft A trainer is a class of aircraft designed specifically to facilitate flight training of pilots and aircrews. The use of a dedicated trainer aircraft with ...
and suffered a grayout. He recovered in time to pull out at , averting what would have been a fatal crash. When Aldrin was deciding what sort of aircraft he should fly, his father advised him to choose
bomber A bomber is a combat aircraft designed to attack ground and naval targets by dropping air-to-ground weaponry (such as bombs), launching aerial torpedo, torpedoes, or deploying air-launched cruise missiles. The first use of bombs dropped from an ...
s, because command of a bomber crew gave an opportunity to learn and hone leadership skills, which could open up better prospects for career advancement. Aldrin chose instead to fly
fighters Fighter(s) or The Fighter(s) may refer to: Combat and warfare * Combatant, an individual legally entitled to engage in hostilities during an international armed conflict * Fighter aircraft, a warplane designed to destroy or damage enemy warplanes ...

fighters
. He moved to
Nellis Air Force Base Nellis Air Force Base ("Nellis" colloquialism, colloq.) is a United States Air Force military installation, installation in southern Nevada with military schools and more Squadron (aviation), squadrons than any other USAF base. Nellis hosts Aer ...
in
Las Vegas Las Vegas (; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambi ...

Las Vegas
, where he learned to fly the
F-80 Shooting Star The Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star was the first Jet aircraft, jet fighter aircraft, fighter used operationally by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). Designed and built by Lockheed Corporation, Lockheed in 1943 and delivered just 143 days ...
and the
F-86 Sabre The North American F-86 Sabre, sometimes called the Sabrejet, is a transonic Transonic (or transsonic) flow is air flowing around an object at a speed that generates regions of both subsonic and supersonic F/A-18F Super Hornet The B ...

F-86 Sabre
. Like most jet
fighter pilot A fighter pilot is a Military aviation, military aviator trained to engage in air-to-air combat, Air-to-ground weaponry, air-to-ground combat and sometimes Electronic-warfare aircraft, electronic warfare while in the cockpit of a fighter aircraf ...

fighter pilot
s of the era, he preferred the latter. In December 1952, Aldrin was assigned to the 16th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, which was part of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing. At the time it was based at
Suwon Air Base Suwon Air Base is a Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) base near Suwon city. Units The base is home to the ROKAF's 10th Fighter Wing (제10전투비행단), comprising: *101st Fighter Squadron flying Northrop F-5, KF-5E/KF-5F/F-5F *201st Fighte ...
, about south of
Seoul Seoul (, like ''soul''; ko, 서울 ; ), officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppe ...

Seoul
, and was engaged in combat operations as part of the Korean War. During an acclimatization flight, his main fuel system froze at 100percent power, which would have soon used up all his fuel. He was able to override the setting manually, but this required holding a button down, which in turn made it impossible to also use his radio. He barely managed to make it back under enforced radio silence. He flew 66 combat missions in F-86 Sabres in Korea and shot down two
MiG-15 The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 (russian: Микоян и Гуревич МиГ-15; USAF/DoD designation: Type 14; NATO reporting name NATO reporting names are code names for military equipment from Russia, China, and historically, the Eastern B ...
aircraft. The first MiG-15 he shot down was on May 14, 1953. Aldrin was flying about south of the
Yalu River The Yalu River, also called by Koreans the Amrok River or Amnok River, is a river on the border between North Korea and China. Together with the Tumen River to its east, and a small portion of Paektu Mountain, the Yalu forms the China–North K ...
, when he saw two MiG-15 fighters below him. Aldrin opened fire on one of the MiGs, whose pilot may never have seen him coming. The June 8, 1953, issue of ''
Life Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities A bubble of exhaled gas in water In common usage and classical mechanics, a physical object or physical body (or simply an object or body) is a collection of matter within a ...
'' magazine featured gun camera footage taken by Aldrin of the pilot ejecting from his damaged aircraft. Aldrin's second aerial victory came on June 4, 1953, when he accompanied aircraft from the 39th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron in an attack on an airbase in North Korea. Their newer aircraft were faster than his and he had trouble keeping up. He then spotted a MiG approaching from above. This time, Aldrin and his opponent spotted each other at about the same time. They went through a series of scissor maneuvers, attempting to get behind the other. Aldrin was first to do so, but his gun sight jammed. He then manually sighted his gun and fired. He then had to pull out, as the two aircraft had gotten too low for the dogfight to continue. Aldrin saw the MiG's canopy open and the pilot eject, although Aldrin was uncertain whether there was sufficient time for a parachute to open. For his service in Korea, he was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and three
Air Medal The Air Medal (AM) is a military decoration of the United States Armed Forces. It was created in 1942 and is awarded for single acts of heroism or meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. Criteria The Air Medal was establish ...

Air Medal
s. Aldrin's year-long tour ended in December 1953, by which time the fighting in Korea had ended. Aldrin was assigned as an aerial gunnery instructor at Nellis. In December 1954 he became an
aide-de-camp An ''aide-de-camp'' (, ; French expression meaning literally ''helper in the ilitarycamp'') is a personal assistant A personal assistant, also referred to as personal aide (PA) or personal secretary (PS), is a job title describing a per ...

aide-de-camp
to
Brigadier General #REDIRECT Brigadier general #REDIRECT Brigadier general Brigadier general (Brig. Gen.) or brigade general is a military rank used in many countries. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of co ...
Don Z. Zimmerman, the Dean of Faculty at the nascent
United States Air Force Academy The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) is a military academy A military academy or service academy is an educational institution which prepares candidates for service in the officer corps. It normally provides education in a milita ...
, which opened in 1955. That same year, he graduated from the
Squadron Officer School Squadron Officer School (SOS), is a 5.5-week-long Professional Military Education (PME) course for U.S. Air Force Captains, Department of the Air Force Civilian (DAFC) equivalents and International Officers. It fulfills the U.S. Air Force's ...
at
Maxwell Air Force Base Maxwell Air Force Base , officially known as Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, is a United States Air Force (USAF) installation under the Air Education and Training Command (AETC). The installation is located in Montgomery, Alabama, United States. Oc ...

Maxwell Air Force Base
in
Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (state song), Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg , seat ...

Alabama
. From 1956 to 1959 he flew
F-100 Super Sabre The North American F-100 Super Sabre is an American supersonic jet engine, jet fighter aircraft that served with the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1954 to 1971 and with the Air National Guard (ANG) until 1979. The first of the Century Se ...
s equipped with
nuclear weapon A nuclear weapon (also known as an atom bomb, atomic bomb, nuclear bomb or nuclear warhead, and colloquially as an A-bomb or nuke) is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reaction In nuclear physics Nucl ...
s as a flight commander in the 22nd Fighter Squadron, 36th Fighter Wing, stationed at
Bitburg Air Base Bitburg (; french: Bitbourg; lb, Béibreg) is a city in Germany, in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate approximately 25 km (16 mi.) northwest of Trier and 50 km (31 mi.) northeast of Luxembourg (city), Luxembourg city. The Ameri ...
in West Germany. Among his squadron colleagues was Ed White, who had been a year behind him at West Point. After White left Germany to study for a master's degree at the
University of Michigan , mottoeng = "Arts, Knowledge, Truth" , former_names = Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania (1817–1821) , budget = $8.99 billion (2018) , endowment = $17 billion (2021)As of October 25, 2021. ...

University of Michigan
in
aeronautical engineering Aerospace engineering is the primary field of engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipli ...
, he wrote to Aldrin encouraging him to do the same. Through the
Air Force Institute of Technology The Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) is a graduate school File:CCMDonation49.JPG, Student receives degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico City, 2013 A graduate school (sometimes shortened to ...

Air Force Institute of Technology
, Aldrin enrolled as a graduate student at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, aft ...
(MIT) in 1959, intending to earn a master's degree. His
astrodynamics Orbital mechanics or astrodynamics is the application of ballistics Ballistics is the field of mechanics Mechanics (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), offici ...
class was taught by
Richard Battin Richard "Dick" Horace Battin (March 3, 1925 – February 8, 2014) was an American engineer, applied mathematician and educator who led the design of the Apollo guidance computer during the Apollo missions, Apollo missions during the 1960s. Battin ...
. Two other USAF officers who later became astronauts,
David Scott David Randolph Scott (born June 6, 1932) is an American retired test pilot A test pilot is an aircraft pilot with additional training to fly and evaluate experimental, newly produced and modified aircraft with specific maneuvers, known ...

David Scott
and
Edgar Mitchell Edgar Dean Mitchell (September 17, 1930 – February 4, 2016) was a United States Navy officer and United States Naval Aviator, aviator, test pilot, Aerospace engineering, aeronautical engineer, Ufology, ufologist and NASA astronaut. As the L ...
, took this course around this time, while another,
Charles Duke Charles Moss Duke Jr. (born October 3, 1935) is an American former astronaut An astronaut (from the Greek "astron" (ἄστρον), meaning "star", and "nautes" (ναύτης), meaning "sailor") is a person trained, equipped, and deploye ...

Charles Duke
, wrote his 1964 master's degree at MIT under the supervision of Laurence R. Young. Aldrin enjoyed the classwork and soon decided to pursue a doctorate instead. In January 1963, he earned a
Sc.D. :''For the degree granted by Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all o ...
degree in
astronautics Astronautics (or cosmonautics) is the theory and practice of travel beyond Earth's atmosphere File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that toget ...
. His doctoral thesis was ''Line-of-Sight Guidance Techniques for Manned Orbital Rendezvous'', the dedication of which read: "In the hopes that this work may in some way contribute to their exploration of space, this is dedicated to the crew members of this country's present and future manned space programs. If only I could join them in their exciting endeavors!" Aldrin chose his doctoral thesis in the hope that it would help him be selected as an astronaut, although it meant foregoing test pilot training, which was a prerequisite at the time. On the completion of his doctorate, Aldrin was assigned to the Gemini Target Office of the Air Force Space Systems Division in Los Angeles, working with the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation on enhancing the maneuver capabilities of the Agena target vehicle which was to be used by
NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in differen ...

NASA
's Project Gemini. He was then posted to the Space Systems Division's field office at NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, where he was involved in integrating United States Department of Defense, Department of Defense experiments into Project Gemini flights.


NASA career

Aldrin's initial application to join the astronaut corps when NASA's Astronaut Group 2 was selected in 1962 was rejected on the grounds that he was not a test pilot. He was aware of the requirement and asked for it to be waived, but the request was turned down. On May 15, 1963, NASA announced another round of selections, this time with the requirement that applicants had either test pilot experience or 1,000 hours of flying time in jet aircraft. Aldrin had over 2,500 hours of flying time, of which 2,200 was in jets. His selection as one of fourteen members of NASA's Astronaut Group 3 was announced on October 18, 1963. This made him the first astronaut with a doctoral degree which, combined with his expertise in orbital mechanics, earned him the nickname "Dr. Rendezvous" from his fellow astronauts. Aldrin was aware it was not always intended as a compliment. Upon completion of initial training, each new astronaut was assigned a field of expertise in Aldrin's case, it was mission planning, trajectory analysis and flight plans.


Gemini program

Jim Lovell and Aldrin were selected as the backup crew of Gemini 10, commander and pilot respectively. Backup crews usually became the prime crew of the third following mission, but the last scheduled mission in the program was
Gemini 12 Gemini 12 (officially Gemini XII) With Gemini IV, NASA changed to Roman numerals for Gemini mission designations. was a 1966 crewed spaceflight Human spaceflight (also referred to as manned spaceflight or crewed spaceflight) is spaceflight ...
. The February 28, 1966, deaths of the Gemini 9 prime crew, Elliot See and Charles Bassett, in an 1966 NASA T-38 crash, air crash, led to Lovell and Aldrin being moved up one mission to backup for Gemini 9, which put them in position as prime crew for Gemini 12. They were designated its prime crew on June 17, 1966, with Gordon Cooper and Gene Cernan as their backups.


Gemini 12

Initially, Gemini 12's mission objectives were uncertain. As the last scheduled mission, it was primarily intended to complete tasks that had not been successfully or fully carried out on earlier missions. While NASA had successfully performed rendezvous during Project Gemini, the gravity-gradient stabilization test on Gemini 11 was unsuccessful. NASA also had concerns about
extravehicular activity Extravehicular activity (EVA) is any activity done by an astronaut or cosmonaut outside a spacecraft 275px, The US Space Shuttle flew 135 times from 1981 to 2011, supporting Spacelab, ''Mir'', the Hubble Space Telescope, and the ISS. (''C ...
(EVA). Cernan on Gemini9 and Richard F. Gordon Jr., Richard Gordon on Gemini11 had suffered from fatigue carrying out tasks during EVA, but Michael Collins had a successful EVA on Gemini 10, which suggested that the order in which he had performed his tasks was an important factor. It therefore fell to Aldrin to complete Gemini's EVA goals. NASA formed a committee to give him a better chance of success. It dropped the test of the Air Force's astronaut maneuvering unit (AMU) that had given Gordon trouble on Gemini11 so Aldrin could focus on EVA. NASA revamped the training program, opting for underwater training over parabolic flight. Aircraft flying a parabolic trajectory had given astronauts an experience of weightlessness in training, but there was a delay between each parabola which gave astronauts several minutes of rest. It also encouraged performing tasks quickly, whereas in space they had to be done slowly and deliberately. Training in a viscous, buoyant fluid gave a better simulation. NASA also placed additional handholds on the capsule, which were increased from nine on Gemini9 to 44 on Gemini12, and created workstations where he could anchor his feet. Gemini 12's main objectives were to rendezvous with a target vehicle, and fly the spacecraft and target vehicle together using gravity-gradient stabilization, perform docked maneuvers using the Agena propulsion system to change orbit, conduct a tethered stationkeeping exercise and three EVAs, and demonstrate an automatic reentry. Gemini12 also carried 14 scientific, medical, and technological experiments. It was not a trailblazing mission; rendezvous from above had already been successfully performed by Gemini 9, and the tethered vehicle exercise by Gemini 11. Even gravity-gradient stabilization had been attempted by Gemini 11, albeit unsuccessfully. Gemini12 was launched from Launch Complex 19 at Cape Canaveral on 20:46 UTC on November 11, 1966. The Gemini Agena Target Vehicle had been launched about an hour and a half before. The mission's first major objective was to rendezvous with this target vehicle. As the target and Gemini12 capsule drew closer together, radar contact between the two deteriorated until it became unusable, forcing the crew to rendezvous manually. Aldrin used a sextant and rendezvous charts he helped create to give Lovell the right information to put the spacecraft in position to dock with the target vehicle. Gemini12 achieved the fourth Docking and berthing of spacecraft, docking with an Agena target vehicle. The next task was to practice undocking and docking again. On undocking, one of the three latches caught, and Lovell had to use the Gemini's thrusters to free the spacecraft. Aldrin then docked again successfully a few minutes later. The flight plan then called for the Agena main engine to be fired to take the docked spacecraft into a higher orbit, but eight minutes after the Agena had been launched, it had suffered a loss of chamber pressure. The Mission and Flight Directors therefore decided not to risk the main engine. This would be the only mission objective that was not achieved. Instead, the Agena's secondary propulsion system was used to allow the spacecraft to view the solar eclipse of November 12, 1966, over South America, which Lovell and Aldrin photographed through the spacecraft windows. Aldrin performed three EVAs. The first was a standup EVA on November 12, in which the spacecraft door was opened and he stood up, but did not leave the spacecraft. The standup EVA mimicked some of the actions he would do during his free-flight EVA, so he could compare the effort expended between the two. It set an EVA record of two hours and twenty minutes. The next day Aldrin performed his free-flight EVA. He climbed across the newly installed hand-holds to the Agena and installed the cable needed for the gravity-gradient stabilization experiment. Aldrin performed numerous tasks, including installing electrical connectors and testing tools that would be needed for Project Apollo. A dozen two-minute rest periods prevented him from becoming fatigued. His second EVA concluded after two hours and six minutes. A third, 55-minute standup EVA was conducted on November 14, during which Aldrin took photographs, conducted experiments, and discarded some unneeded items. On November 15, the crew initiated the automatic reentry system and splashdown, splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean, where they were picked up by a helicopter, which took them to the awaiting aircraft carrier . After the mission, his wife realized he had fallen into a depression, something she had not seen before.


Apollo program

Lovell and Aldrin were assigned to an Apollo crew with
Neil Armstrong Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) was an American astronaut An astronaut (from the Greek "astron" (ἄστρον), meaning "star", and "nautes" (ναύτης), meaning "sailor") is a person trained, equipp ...

Neil Armstrong
as Commander, Lovell as Command Module Pilot (CMP), and Aldrin as Lunar Module Pilot (LMP). Their assignment as the backup crew of Apollo 9 was announced on November 20, 1967. Due to design and manufacturing delays in the lunar module (LM), Apollo 8 and Apollo9 swapped prime and backup crews, and Armstrong's crew became the backup for Apollo 8. Under the normal crew rotation scheme, Armstrong was expected to command
Apollo 11 Apollo 11 was the spaceflight Spaceflight (or space flight) is an application of astronautics to fly spacecraft into or through outer space, either human spaceflight, with or uncrewed spaceflight, without humans on board. Most spacefli ...

Apollo 11
. Michael Collins, the CMP on the Apollo8 prime crew, required surgery to remove a bone spur on his spine. Lovell took his place on the Apollo8 crew. When Collins recovered he joined Armstrong's crew as CMP. In the meantime, Fred Haise filled in as backup LMP, and Aldrin as backup CMP for Apollo 8. While the CMP usually occupied the center couch on launch, Aldrin occupied it rather than Collins, as he had already been trained to operate its console on liftoff before Collins arrived. Apollo11 was the second American space mission made up entirely of astronauts who had already flown in space, the first being Apollo 10. The next would not be flown until STS-26 in 1988. Deke Slayton, who was responsible for astronaut flight assignments, gave Armstrong the option to replace Aldrin with Lovell, since some thought Aldrin was difficult to work with. Armstrong thought it over for a day before declining. He had no issues working with Aldrin, and thought Lovell deserved his own command. Early versions of the EVA checklist had the Lunar Module Pilot as the first to step onto the lunar surface. However, when Aldrin learned that this might be amended, he lobbied within NASA for the original procedure to be followed. Multiple factors contributed to the final decision, including the physical positioning of the astronauts within the compact lunar lander, which made it easier for Armstrong to be the first to exit the spacecraft. Furthermore, there was little support for Aldrin's views among senior astronauts who would command later Apollo missions. Collins has commented that he thought Aldrin "resents not being first on the Moon more than he appreciates being second". Aldrin and Armstrong did not have time to perform much geological training. The first lunar landing focused more on landing on the Moon and making it safely back to Earth than the scientific aspects of the mission. The duo was briefed by NASA and USGS geologists. They made one geological field trip to West Texas. The press followed them, and a helicopter made it hard for Aldrin and Armstrong to hear their instructor.


Apollo 11

On the morning of July 16, 1969, an estimated one million spectators watched the launch of Apollo11 from the highways and beaches in the vicinity of Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch was televised live in 33 countries, with an estimated 25 million viewers in the United States alone. Millions more listened to radio broadcasts. Propelled by a Saturn V rocket, Apollo11 lifted off from Launch Complex 39 at the Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969, at 13:32:00 UTC (9:32:00 Eastern Daylight Time, EDT), and entered Earth orbit twelve minutes later. After one and a half orbits, the S-IVB third-stage engine pushed the spacecraft onto its trajectory toward the Moon. About thirty minutes later, the transposition, docking, and extraction maneuver was performed: this involved separating the Apollo command module, command module Command Module Columbia, ''Columbia'' from the spent S-IVB stage, turning around, and docking with Lunar Module Eagle, lunar module ''Eagle''. After the lunar module was extracted, the combined spacecraft headed for the Moon, while the rocket stage flew on a trajectory past the Moon. On July 19 at 17:21:50 UTC, Apollo11 passed behind the Moon and fired its service propulsion engine to enter lunar orbit. In the thirty orbits that followed, the crew saw passing views of their landing site in the southern Sea of Tranquillity about southwest of the crater Collins (crater), Sabine D. At 12:52:00 UTC on July 20, Aldrin and Armstrong entered ''Eagle'', and began the final preparations for lunar descent. At 17:44:00 ''Eagle'' separated from the ''Columbia''. Collins, alone aboard ''Columbia'', inspected ''Eagle'' as it pirouetted before him to ensure the craft was not damaged and that the landing gear had correctly deployed. Throughout the descent, Aldrin called out navigation data to Armstrong, who was busy piloting the ''Eagle''. Five minutes into the descent burn, and above the surface of the Moon, the Apollo Guidance Computer, LM guidance computer (LGC) distracted the crew with the first of several unexpected alarms that indicated that it could not complete all its tasks in real time and had to postpone some of them. The ''Eagle'' landed at 20:17:40 UTC on Sunday July 20 with about 25 seconds of fuel left. As a Presbyterian elder, Aldrin was the first and only person to hold a religious ceremony on the Moon. He radioed Earth: "I'd like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours, and to give thanks in his or her own way." Using a kit given to him by his pastor, he took
communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, reenacting the Last Supper **Communion (chant), the Gregorian chant that acc ...

communion
and read Jesus's words from the New Testament's John 15:5, as Aldrin records it: "I am the vine. You are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me." But he kept this ceremony secret because of a lawsuit over the reading of Genesis on Apollo 8. In 1970 he commented: "It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the Moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements." On reflection in his 2009 book, Aldrin said, "Perhaps, if I had it to do over again, I would not choose to celebrate communion. Although it was a deeply meaningful experience for me, it was a Christian sacrament, and we had come to the moon in the name of all mankind – be they Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, agnostics, or atheists. But at the time I could think of no better way to acknowledge the enormity of the Apollo11 experience than by giving thanks to God." Aldrin shortly hit upon a more universally human reference on the voyage back to Earth by publicly broadcasting his reading of the Old Testament's Psalm 8:3–4, as Aldrin records: "When I considered the heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars which Thou hast ordained, what is man that Thou art mindful of him." Photos of these liturgical documents reveal the conflict's development as Aldrin expresses faith. Preparations for the EVA began at 23:43. Once Armstrong and Aldrin were ready to go outside, ''Eagle'' was depressurized, and the hatch was opened at 02:39:33 on July 21. Aldrin set foot on the Moon at 03:15:16 on July 21, 1969 (UTC), nineteen minutes after Armstrong first touched the surface. Armstrong and Aldrin became the first and second people, respectively, to walk on the Moon. Aldrin's first words after he set foot on the Moon were "Beautiful view", to which Armstrong asked "Isn't that something? Magnificent sight out here." Aldrin answered, "Magnificent desolation." Aldrin and Armstrong had trouble erecting the Lunar Flag Assembly, but with some effort secured it into the surface. Aldrin saluted the flag and Armstrong took an iconic photo of the scene. Aldrin positioned himself in front of the video camera and began experimenting with different locomotion methods to move about the lunar surface to aid future moonwalkers. During these experiments, President Nixon called the duo to congratulate them on the successful landing. Nixon closed with, "Thank you very much, and all of us look forward to seeing you on the ''Hornet'' on Thursday." Aldrin replied, "I look forward to that very much, sir." After the call, Aldrin began photographing and inspecting the spacecraft to document and verify its condition before their flight. Aldrin and Armstrong then set up a seismometer, to detect moonquakes, and a laser beam reflector. While Armstrong inspected a crater, Aldrin began the difficult task of hammering a metal tube into the surface to obtain a core sample. Most of the iconic photographs of an astronaut on the Moon taken by the Apollo11 astronauts are of Aldrin; Armstrong appears in just two color photographs. "As the sequence of lunar operations evolved," Aldrin explained, "Neil had the camera most of the time, and the majority of the pictures taken on the Moon that include an astronaut are of me. It wasn't until we were back on Earth and in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory looking over the pictures that we realized there were few pictures of Neil. My fault perhaps, but we had never simulated this during our training." Aldrin reentered ''Eagle'' first, but, before ascending the ladder, he was the first human to urinate on the Moon. With some difficulty they lifted film and two sample boxes containing of lunar surface material to the hatch using a flat cable pulley device. Armstrong reminded Aldrin of a bag of memorial items in his sleeve pocket, and Aldrin tossed the bag down. It contained a mission patch for the Apollo 1 flight that Ed White never flew due to his death in a cabin fire during the launch rehearsal; medallions commemorating Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, and Vladimir Komarov, the first man to die in a space flight, and a silicon disk etched with goodwill messages from 73 nations. After transferring to LM life support, the explorers lightened the ascent stage for the return to lunar orbit by tossing out their backpacks, lunar overshoes, an empty Hasselblad camera, and other equipment. The hatch was closed again at 05:01, and they repressurized the lunar module and settled down to sleep. At 17:54 UTC, they lifted off in ''Eagle'' ascent stage to rejoin Collins aboard ''Columbia'' in lunar orbit. After rendezvous with ''Columbia'', the ascent stage was jettisoned into lunar orbit, and ''Columbia'' made its way back to Earth. It splashed down in the Pacific east of Wake Island at 16:50 UTC (05:50 local time) on July 24. The total mission duration was 195 hours, 18 minutes, 35 seconds. The chance of bringing back pathogens from the lunar surface was considered a possibility, albeit remote, so divers passed biological isolation garments (BIGs) to the astronauts, and assisted them into the life raft. The astronauts were winched on board the recovery helicopter, and flown to the aircraft carrier , where they spent the first part of the Earth-based portion of 21 days of quarantine. On August 13, the three astronauts rode in ticker-tape parades in their honor in New York and Chicago, attended by an estimated six million people. An official state dinner that evening in Los Angeles celebrated the flight. President Richard Nixon honored each of them with the highest American civilian award, the
Presidential Medal of Freedom The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs th ...

Presidential Medal of Freedom
(with distinction). On September 16, 1969, the astronauts addressed a joint session of the United States Congress, joint session of Congress where they thanked the representatives for their past support and implored them to continue funding the space effort. The astronauts embarked on a 38-day world tour on September 29 that brought the astronauts to 22 foreign countries and included visits with leaders of multiple countries. The last leg of the tour included Australia, South Korea, and Japan; the crew returned to the US on November 5, 1969. After Apollo 11, Aldrin was kept busy giving speeches and making public appearances. In October 1970, he joined Soviet cosmonauts Andriyan Nikolayev and Vitaly Sevastyanov on their tour of the NASA space centers. He was also involved in the design of the Space Shuttle. With the Apollo program coming to an end, Aldrin, now a colonel (United States), colonel, saw few prospects at NASA, and decided to return to the Air Force on July 1, 1971. During his NASA career, he had spent 289 hours and 53 minutes in space, of which 7 hours and 52 minutes was in EVA.


Post-NASA activities


Aerospace Research Pilot School

Aldrin hoped to become Commandant of Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy, but the job went to his West Point classmate Hoyt S. Vandenberg Jr. Aldrin was made Commandant of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Aldrin had neither managerial nor test pilot experience, but a third of the training curriculum was devoted to astronaut training and students flew a modified Lockheed NF-104A, F-104 Starfighter to the edge of space. Fellow Group 3 astronaut and moonwalker Alan Bean considered him well qualified for the job. Aldrin did not get along well with his superior, Brigadier General Robert M. White, who had earned his USAF United States Astronaut Badge, astronaut wings flying the X-15. Aldrin's celebrity status led people to defer to him more than the higher-ranking general. There were two crashes at Edwards, of an A-7 Corsair II and a T-33. No lives were lost, but the aircraft were destroyed and the accidents were attributed to insufficient supervision, which placed the blame on Aldrin. What he had hoped would be an enjoyable job became a highly stressful one. Aldrin went to see the base surgeon. In addition to signs of Major depressive disorder, depression, he experienced neck and shoulder pains, and hoped that the latter might explain the former. He was hospitalized for depression at Wilford Hall Medical Center for four weeks. His mother had committed suicide in May 1968, and he was plagued with guilt that his fame after Gemini12 had contributed. His mother's father had also committed suicide, and he believed he inherited depression from them. At the time there was great stigma related to mental illness and he was aware that it could not only be career-ending, but could result in his being ostracized socially. In February 1972, General (United States), General George S. Brown paid a visit to Edwards and informed Aldrin that the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School was being renamed the USAF Test Pilot School and the astronaut training was being dropped. With the Apollo program winding down, and Air Force budgets being cut, the Air Force's interest in space diminished. Aldrin elected to retire as a colonel on March 1, 1972, after 21 years of service. His father and General Jimmy Doolittle, a close friend of his father, attended the formal retirement ceremony.


Post retirement

Aldrin's father died on December 28, 1974, from complications following a heart attack. Aldrin's autobiographies ''Return to Earth,'' (1973) and '' Magnificent Desolation'' (2009), recounted his struggles with
clinical depression Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known simply as depression, is a characterized by at least two weeks of pervasive , low , and in normally enjoyable activities. Those affected may also occasionally have s or s. Introduced by a group of ...
and
alcoholism Alcoholism is, broadly, any drinking of alcohol In , alcohol is an that carries at least one (−OH) bound to a atom. The term alcohol originally referred to the primary alcohol (ethyl alcohol), which is and is the main alcoho ...
in the years after leaving NASA. Encouraged by a therapist to take a regular job, Aldrin worked selling used cars, at which he had no talent. Periods of hospitalization and sobriety alternated with bouts of heavy drinking. Eventually he was arrested for disorderly conduct. Finally, in October 1978, he quit drinking for good. Aldrin attempted to help others with drinking problems, including actor William Holden. Holden's girlfriend Stefanie Powers had portrayed Marianne, a woman with whom Aldrin had an affair, in the Return to Earth (film), TV movie version of ''Return to Earth''. Aldrin was saddened by Holden's alcohol-related death in 1981.


Bart Sibrel incident

On September 9, 2002, Aldrin was lured to a Beverly Hills, California, Beverly Hills hotel on the pretext of being interviewed for a Japanese children's television show on the subject of space. When he arrived, Moon landing conspiracy theories, Moon landing conspiracy theorist Bart Sibrel accosted him with a film crew and demanded he swear on a Bible that the Moon landings were not faked. After a brief confrontation, during which Sibrel followed Aldrin despite being told to leave him alone, and called him "thief, liar and coward", the 72-year-old Aldrin punched Sibrel in the jaw, which was caught on camera by Sibrel's film crew. Aldrin said he had acted to defend himself and his stepdaughter. Witnesses said Sibrel had aggressively poked Aldrin with a Bible. Additional mitigating factors were that Sibrel sustained no visible injury and did not seek medical attention, and that Aldrin had no criminal record. The police declined to press charges against Aldrin.


Detached adapter panel sighting

In 2005, while being interviewed for a Science Channel documentary titled ''First on the Moon: The Untold Story'', Aldrin told an interviewer they had seen an unidentified flying object (unidentified flying object, UFO). The documentary makers omitted the crew's conclusion that they probably saw one of the four detached spacecraft adapter panels from the upper stage of the SaturnV rocket. The panels had been jettisoned before the separation maneuver so they closely followed the spacecraft until the first mid-course correction. When Aldrin appeared on ''The Howard Stern Show'' on August 15, 2007, Stern asked him about the supposed UFO sighting. Aldrin confirmed that there was no such sighting of anything deemed extraterrestrial and said they were, and are, "99.9 percent" sure the object was the detached panel. According to Aldrin his words had been taken out of context. He made a request to the Science Channel to make a correction, but was refused.


Polar expedition

In December 2016, Aldrin was part of a tourist group visiting the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica when he fell ill and was evacuated, first to McMurdo Station and from there to Christchurch, New Zealand. At 86 years of age, Aldrin's visit made him the oldest person to reach the South Pole. He had traveled to the North Pole in 1998.


Mission to Mars advocacy

After leaving NASA, Aldrin continued to advocate for space exploration. In 1985 he joined the University of North Dakota (UND)'s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, College of Aerospace Sciences at the invitation of John D. Odegard, the dean of the college. Aldrin helped to develop UND's Space Studies program and brought Dr. David C. Webb, David Webb from NASA to serve as the department's first chair. To further promote space exploration, and to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing, Aldrin teamed up with Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, Talib Kweli, and Soulja Boy to create the rap single and video "Rocket Experience", proceeds from which were donated to Aldrin's non-profit foundation, ShareSpace foundation, ShareSpace. In 1985, Aldrin proposed a special spacecraft
trajectory A trajectory or flight path is the path that an with in follows through as a function of time. In , a trajectory is defined by via ; hence, a complete trajectory is defined by position and momentum, simultaneously. The mass might be a or ...

trajectory
now known as the . Cycler trajectories offer reduced cost of repeated travel to Mars by using less propellant. The Aldrin cycler provided a five and a half month journey from the Earth to Mars, with a return trip to Earth of the same duration on a twin cycler orbit. Aldrin continues to research this concept with engineers from Purdue University. In 1996 Aldrin founded Starcraft Boosters, Inc. (SBI) to design reusable rocket launchers. In December 2003, Aldrin published an opinion piece in ''The New York Times'' criticizing NASA's objectives. In it, he voiced concern about NASA's development of a Orion (spacecraft), spacecraft "limited to transporting four astronauts at a time with little or no cargo carrying capability" and declared the goal of sending astronauts back to the Moon was "more like reaching for past glory than striving for new triumphs". In a June 2013 opinion piece in ''The New York Times'', Aldrin supported a
human mission to Mars The idea of sending humans to Mars Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, being larger than only Mercury (planet), Mercury. In English, Mars carries the name of the Mars (mythology), ...
and which viewed the Moon "not as a destination but more a point of departure, one that places humankind on a trajectory to homestead Mars and become a two-planet species." In August 2015, Aldrin, in association with the Florida Institute of Technology, presented a master plan to NASA for consideration where astronauts, with a tour of duty of ten years, establish a colony on Mars before the year 2040.


Awards and honors

Aldrin was awarded the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) in 1969 for his role as lunar module pilot on Apollo 11. He was awarded an oak leaf cluster in 1972 in lieu of a second DSM for his role in both the Korean War and in the space program, and the Legion of Merit for his role in the Gemini and Apollo programs. During a 1966 ceremony marking the end of the Gemini program, Aldrin was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal by Lyndon B. Johnson, President Johnson at LBJ Ranch. He was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 1970 for the Apollo11 mission. Aldrin was one of ten Gemini astronauts inducted into the New Mexico Museum of Space History, International Space Hall of Fame in 1982. He was also inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1993, the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2000, and the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2008. The ''Toy Story (franchise), Toy Story'' character Buzz Lightyear was named in honor of Buzz Aldrin. In 1999, while celebrating the 30th anniversary of the lunar landing, Vice-President Al Gore, who was also the vice-chancellor of the Smithsonian Institution's Board of Regents, presented the Apollo11 crew with the Smithsonian Institution's Langley Gold Medal for aviation. After the ceremony, the crew went to the White House and presented President Bill Clinton with an encased Moon rock. The Apollo11 crew was awarded the New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal in the Capitol Rotunda in 2011. During the ceremony, NASA administrator Charles Bolden said, "Those of us who have had the privilege to fly in space followed the trail they forged."''Congressional Gold Medal to Astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins''. . Accessed April 16, 2015. The Apollo11 crew were awarded the Collier Trophy in 1969. The National Aeronautic Association president awarded a duplicate trophy to Collins and Aldrin at a ceremony. The crew was awarded the 1969 General Thomas D. White USAF Space Trophy. The National Space Club named the crew the winners of the 1970 Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, awarded annually for the greatest achievement in spaceflight. They received the international Harmon Trophy for aviators in 1970, conferred to them by Vice-President Spiro Agnew in 1971. Agnew also presented them the Hubbard Medal of the National Geographic Society in 1970. He told them, "You've won a place alongside Christopher Columbus in American history". In 1970, the Apollo11 team were co-winners of the Iven C. Kincheloe award from the Society of Experimental Test Pilots along with Darryl Greenamyer who broke the world speed record for piston engine airplanes. For contributions to the television industry, they were honored with round plaques on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Aldrin to the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry. Aldrin received the 2003 Humanitarian Award from Variety, the Children's Charity, which, according to the organization, "is given to an individual who has shown unusual understanding, empathy, and devotion to mankind." In 2006, the Space Foundation awarded him its highest honor, the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award. Aldrin received honorary degrees from six colleges and universities, and was named as the Chancellor of the International Space University in 2015. He was a member of the National Space Society's Board of Governors, and has served as the organization's chairman. In 2016, his hometown middle school in Montclair, New Jersey, was renamed Buzz Aldrin Middle School. The Aldrin (crater), Aldrin crater on the Moon near the Apollo11 landing site and Asteroid 6470 Aldrin are named in his honor. In 2019, Buzz was awarded the Starmus Festival's Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication for Lifetime Achievement.


Personal life

Aldrin has been married three times. His first marriage was on December 29, 1954, to Joan Archer, a Rutgers University and Columbia University alumna with a master's degree. They had three children, James, Janice and Andrew. They filed for divorce in 1974. His second was to Beverly Van Zile, whom he married on December 31, 1975, and divorced in 1978. His third was to Lois Driggs Cannon, whom he married on February 14, 1988. Their divorce was finalized in December 2012. The settlement included 50percent of their $475,000 bank account, and $9,500 a month plus 30percent of his annual income, estimated at more than $600,000. , he has one grandson, Jeffrey Schuss, born to his daughter Janice, and three great-grandsons. In 2018 Aldrin was involved in a legal dispute with his children Andrew and Janice and former business manager Christina Korp over their claims that he was mentally impaired through dementia and Alzheimer's disease. His children alleged that he made new friends who were alienating him from the family and encouraging him to spend his savings at a high rate. They sought to be named legal guardians so they could control his finances. In June, Aldrin filed a lawsuit against Andrew, Janice, Korp, and businesses and foundations run by the family. Aldrin alleged that Janice was not acting in his financial interests and that Korp was exploiting the elderly. He sought to remove Andrew's control of Aldrin's social media accounts, finances, and businesses. The situation ended when his children withdrew their petition and he dropped the lawsuit in March 2019, several months before the 50th anniversary of the Apollo11 mission. Aldrin is an active supporter of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party, headlining fundraisers for its members of United States Congress, Congress and endorsing its candidates. He appeared at a rally for George W. Bush in 2004 and campaigned for Nick Lampson in Texas in 2006, Paul Rancatore in Florida in 2008, Mead Treadwell in Alaska in 2014 and Dan Crenshaw in Texas in 2018. He appeared at the 2019 State of the Union Address as a guest of President Donald Trump. Following the 2012 death of his Apollo11 colleague Neil Armstrong, Aldrin said he was In 2007, he confirmed to ''Time (magazine), Time'' magazine that he had recently had a face-lift, joking that the g-forces he was exposed to in space "caused a sagging jowl that needed some attention." He primarily resided in the Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills and Laguna Beach, California, Laguna Beach and Emerald Bay, Orange County, California, Emerald Bay. Following his third divorce, he sold his Westwood, Los Angeles, Westwood condominium. , he was living in Satellite Beach, Florida.


In the media


Filmography


Portrayed by others

Aldrin has been portrayed by: * Cliff Robertson in ''Return to Earth (film), Return to Earth'' (1976). Aldrin worked with Robertson on the role. * Larry Williams in ''Apollo 13 (film), Apollo 13'' (1995) * Xander Berkeley in ''Apollo 11 (1996 film), Apollo11'' (1996). He was also a technical advisor for the film. * Bryan Cranston in ''From the Earth to the Moon (miniseries), From the Earth to the Moon'' (1998) and ''Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D'' (2005) * James Marsters in ''Moonshot (film), Moonshot'' (2009) * Cory Tucker as a younger Buzz Aldrin of 1969 in ''Transformers: Dark of the Moon'' (2011) * Corey Stoll in ''First Man (film), First Man'' (2018) * Chris Agos in ''For All Mankind (TV series), For All Mankind'' (2019). 6 episodes. * Felix Scott in ''The Crown (TV series), The Crown'' (2019)


Motorsports

* Aldrin served as the grand marshal in NASCAR's 1994 DieHard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. When he told the drivers to start their engines, he said "Drivers, energize your groundcraft."


Video games

* Aldrin was a consultant on the video game ''Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space''.


Works

* Aldrin, Edwin E. Jr. 1970.
Footsteps on the Moon
. ''Edison Electric Institute Bulletin''. Vol.38, No.7, pp.266–272. * Armstrong, Neil; Michael Collins; Edwin E. Aldrin; Gene Farmer; and Dora Jane Hamblin. 1970. ''First on the Moon (1970 book), First on the Moon: A Voyage with Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, Edwin E. Aldrin Jr.'' Boston: Little, Brown. . * Aldrin, Buzz and Wayne Warga. 1973. ''Return to Earth''. New York: Random House. . * Aldrin, Buzz and Malcolm McConnell. 1989. ''Men from Earth''. New York: Bantam Books. . * Aldrin, Buzz and John Barnes. 1996. ''Encounter with Tiber''. London: Hodder & Stoughton. . * Aldrin, Buzz and John Barnes. 2000. ''The Return (Aldrin and Barnes novel), The Return''. New York: Forge. . * Aldrin, Buzz and Wendell Minor. 2005. ''Reaching for the Moon''. New York: Harper Collins Publishers. . * Aldrin, Buzz and Ken Abraham. 2009. ''Magnificent Desolation (book), Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon''. New York: Harmony Books. . * Aldrin, Buzz and Wendell Minor. 2009. ''Look to the Stars''. Camberwell, Vic.: Puffin Books. . * Aldrin, Buzz and Leonard David. 2013. ''Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration''. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Books. . * Aldrin, Buzz and Marianne Dyson. 2015. ''Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet''. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Children's Books. . * Aldrin, Buzz and Ken Abraham. 2016. ''No Dream Is Too High: Life Lessons from a Man Who Walked on the Moon''. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Books. .


See also

* Apollo 11 in popular culture * List of spaceflight records * History of aviation


Explanatory notes


References

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External links


Interview with Buzz Aldrin for NOVA series: To the Moon
WGBH Educational Foundation, raw footage, 1998
"Satellite of solitude"
by Buzz Aldrin: an article in which Aldrin describes what it was like to walk on the Moon, ''Cosmos (Australian magazine), Cosmos'' science magazine, July 2005 * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Aldrin, Buzz Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11, *Aldrin 1930 births 1966 in spaceflight 1969 in spaceflight 20th-century American businesspeople American astronauts American autobiographers American male non-fiction writers American mechanical engineers American people of German descent American people of Scottish descent American people of Swedish descent American Presbyterians Articles containing video clips Aviators from New Jersey Collier Trophy recipients Congressional Gold Medal recipients Engineers from New Jersey Florida Institute of Technology faculty Gold Logie winners Harmon Trophy winners Living people Military personnel from New Jersey MIT School of Engineering alumni Montclair High School (New Jersey) alumni National Aviation Hall of Fame inductees New Jersey Republicans Participants in American reality television series People from Glen Ridge, New Jersey People from Montclair, New Jersey People who have walked on the Moon People with mood disorders Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients Recipients of the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal Recipients of the Air Medal Recipients of the Cullum Geographical Medal Recipients of the Distinguished Flying Cross (United States) Recipients of the Legion of Merit Recipients of the NASA Distinguished Service Medal Recipients of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal Space advocates United States Air Force astronauts United States Air Force colonels United States Air Force personnel of the Korean War United States Astronaut Hall of Fame inductees United States Military Academy alumni Writers from New Jersey