Buzz Aldrin Biography
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Also Known As: Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr.
Born in: Glen Ridge, New Jersey, U.S.
Famous as: American engineer
Height: 1.78 m
Spouse/Ex-: Beverly Van Zile (m. 1975–1978), Jean Ann Archer (m. 1954–1972), Lois Driggs Cannon (m. 1988–2012)
father: Edwin Eugene Aldrin Sr.
mother: Marion Aldrin
children: Andrew, James, Janice
Diseases & Disabilities: Depression
U.S. State: New Jersey
education: Montclair High School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States Military Academy
awards: Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
NASA Distinguished Service Medal
NASA Space Flight Medal
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Robert J. Collier Trophy
Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy
Langley Gold Medal
Legion of Merit
Edwin Eugene ‘Buzz’ Aldrin Jr. is an American astronaut and the second person to walk on the moon. Since his childhood days, he seemed destined to be an aviator and entered the Air Force after his graduation from West Point Military Academy where he flew 66 combat missions in Korea during the war. After the cease fire between North and South Korea, Aldrin enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning his PhD in Aeronautics and astronautics. He developed a thesis which focused on rendezvousing piloted spacecraft and soon entered the space program where he relied on his doctoral studies to create docking and rendezvous techniques for spacecrafts. He also pioneered underwater training techniques, which simulated zero-gravity situations and helped astronauts prepare to work in space. Aldrin served as a lunar module pilot for the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, travelling with Commander Neil Armstrong and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins. On his return from the mission, he was decorated with the ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom’, the highest American peacetime award. In recent years, Aldrin continued expansion of the space programs specifically calling for a return to moon and manned visits to Mars.
- He was born to a career military man, Edwin Eugene Aldrin and his wife Marion (nee Moon). His father later served as an executive with the Standard Oil Company which used to provide steady and lucrative work to the ex-army officials.
- In 1946, he graduated from Mont Clair high school and turned down the full scholarship offer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He enrolled at the United States Military Academy at WestPoint and graduated third in his class with a BS in mechanical engineering.
- In 1951, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and served as a jet fighter pilot during the Korean War. He flew F86 Sabre jets in 66 combat missions and shot down two MIG 15 aircraft.
- After the war, he was posted as an aerial gunnery instructor to Nellis Air Force base in Nevada and then as an aide to the Dean of Faculty at the US Air Force Academy which had started operating in 1955.
- After a tour of duty in Germany flying F100′s, he went on to earn his Doctorate of Science in Astronautics at MIT and wrote his thesis on ‘Line-of-sight guidance techniques for manned orbital rendezvous’. On its completion, he was positioned in the Gemini target office of the Air-force State Systems Division in Los Angeles.
- In 1963, he was selected by NASA into the third group of astronauts and was promoted to back-up crew for the mission along with Jim Lovell but this revised mission failed.
- On November 11, 1966, he joined Lovell on the four-day Gemini 12 flight where he set a record for EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity) by demonstrating that astronauts could work outside spacecraft. He recorded a five and a half hour space-walk and proved that man can function effectively in space.
- After leaving NASA, he served as the commandant of the US Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. In March, 1972, he retired from the 21 years of active service and returned to the Air Force in a managerial role but his career was destroyed by some personal issues.
- In 1995, he appeared in the Charlton Heston, Mickey Rooney and Deborah Winters film, ‘America: A Call to Greatness’, directed by Warren Chaney. It was a docudrama chronicling US history from its inception through the 20th century.
- In 2011, he appeared as himself in the film, ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’, where he explains that the Apollo 11 mission also discovered a Cybertronian ship on the moon whose existence was concealed from the public.
- In 2012, he made a cameo appearance in Japanese drama film, ‘Space Brothers’. He also lent his voice to the video game, ‘Mass Effect3’, playing the character of a star gazer who appears in the game’s final scene.
- On July 21, 1969, he, along with flight commander Neil Armstrong, made their first historic Apollo 11 moonwalk becoming first two humans to set foot on the moon. They concluded their lunar surface excursion after spending 21 hours there; gathering rock samples, taking photographs, and setting up scientific equipment for tests.
- In 1985, he spoke about the existence of a special spacecraft trajectory, now known as the ‘Aldrin Cycler’. This trajectory encounters Earth and Mars on a regular basis it is potentially useful for transporting people and can carry heavy radiation shielding to protect people in transit from cosmic rays and solar storms.
- In 1993, he produced a computer strategy game, ‘Buzz Aldrin’s Race into Space’ to promote space exploration. For further promotion, he teamed up with rappers such as Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, Soulja Boys to create the rap single and video ‘Rocket experience’.
- He wrote two biographies, ‘Return to Earth’, and Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon’. He also wrote a history of the Apollo program, ‘Men from Earth’ and two children’s books, ‘Reaching for the Moon’ and ‘Look to the Stars’.
- In 1970, he received a ‘Special Gold Logie Award’ which he shared with Neil Armstrong for providing TV’s greatest moment in their moon telecast.
- In 1994, he won a ‘Technical achievement Award’ presented by the Society of Camera Operators for developing and achieving photography in space. He shared this award with all the participating astronauts.
- In 1999, he received the ‘Langley Gold Medal’ from the Smithsonian Institution along with his Apollo 11 crewmates.
- In 2001, then President, George Bush appointed him to the commission on the future of the US Aerospace Industry.
- In 2006, the Space Foundation awarded him its highest honor, the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award.
- In 2007, he was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame for his contribution to the society and the world beyond.
- In 2009, President Barack Obama signed legislation giving the Congressional Gold Medal to Aldrin and his Apollo 11 crewmates, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins.
- He was married thrice; to Joan Archer with whom he had three children, James, Janice and Andrew; to Beverly Zile; and to Lois Driggs Cannon. On June 15, 2011, he filed for a divorce with Lois which was finalized on December 28, 2012.
- He is an active supporter of the Republican Party of United Staes.
- The crater ‘Aldrin’ on the Moon near the Apollo 11 landing site and Asteroid ‘6470 Aldrin’ are named in his honor.
- The nickname ‘Buzz’ was the result of mis-pronouncing of the word Brother as ‘Buzzer’ by his younger of the two elder sisters.
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