photo credits: Wikimedia Commons
country of citizenship:
United States of America
language of expression: English
educated at: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States Military Academy
occupation: air force officer, fighter pilot, astronaut, autobiographer, science fiction writer, engineer, businessperson
award received: Distinguished Flying Cross, Legionnaire of Legion of Merit, Order of Culture, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Air Medal, Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, Harmon Trophy, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, Steiger Award, Congressional Gold Medal, National Aviation Hall of Fame, California Hall of Fame, New Jersey Hall of Fame, Horatio Alger Award, Grande Médaille d'Or des Explorations, Langley Gold Medal, Cullum Geographical Medal, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, United States Astronaut Hall of Fame, NASA Space Flight Medal, Hubbard Medal, Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of New Jersey
Buzz Aldrin (; born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr.; January 20, 1930) is an American engineer, former astronaut and fighter pilot. Aldrin made three spacewalks as pilot of the 1966 Gemini 12 mission, and as the lunar module pilot on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, he and mission commander Neil Armstrong were the first two humans to land on the Moon.
Born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, Aldrin graduated third in the class of 1951 from the United States Military Academy at West Point, with a degree in mechanical engineering. He was commissioned into the United States Air Force, and served as a jet fighter pilot during the Korean War. He flew 66 combat missions and shot down two MiG-15 aircraft.
After earning a Sc.D. degree in astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Aldrin was selected as a member of 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 during which he spent over five hours on extravehicular activity. 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 Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit. A Presbyterian elder, Aldrin became the first person to hold a religious ceremony on the Moon when he privately took communion.
Upon leaving NASA in 1971, Aldrin became Commandant of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School. 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 and alcoholism in the years after leaving NASA. He continued to advocate for space exploration, particularly a human mission to Mars, and developed the Aldrin cycler, a special spacecraft 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 in 1969, and is listed in several Halls of Fame.
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book by Neil Armstrongwd:Q5454231
2000 novel by Buzz Aldrin and John Barneswd:Q7760371