Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin was born in Montclair, New Jersey in 1930. His father, also called Edwin, was a military man and an aviation pioneer. The nickname 'Buzz' came about when his little sister mispronounced 'brother' as 'buzzer'. Aldrin made 'Buzz' his legal first name in 1988.
Aldrin went to Montclair High School, and then on to the US Military Academy at West Point, from where he graduated with honours in 1951. After gaining his
In October 1963, NASA chose him as one of their astronauts, and three years later he partnered Captain Jim Lovell on board Gemini XII. This mission lasted five days, orbiting the earth 59
July 16th 1969 saw over 700 million people glued to their TVs as Apollo 11 lifted off from the Kennedy Space Centre carrying the Commander Neil Armstrong, the Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and the Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin, bound for the Moon.
On July 19th, Apollo 11 entered lunar orbit and passed round the moon thirty times before the lunar module Eagle, with Armstrong and Aldrin on board, separated from the command module Columbia. On July 21st the lunar module touched down on the Moon's surface, and Armstrong's first words were "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."
A TV camera mounted on Eagle showed Armstrong climb down the ladder. As he stood on the moon he spoke his famous line, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for
For the next two and a half hours they took core samples of the moon, made notes and took photos. With gravity on the moon much less than on Earth, the two astronauts tried out methods for moving around, including two-footed kangaroo hops. Together, Armstrong and Aldrin planted the US flag on the Moon's surface. They then took a call from President Nixon who greeted them with, "Hello, Neil and Buzz. I'm talking to you by telephone from the Oval Room at the White House, and this certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made. I just can't tell you how proud we all are."
A number of items were left on the Moon included a lunar plaque with the inscription Here Men From The Planet Earth First Set Foot Upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We Came in Peace For All Mankind.
Buzz Aldrin retired from NASA after the moon landing, to continue his career in the US Air Force. He retired in 1972 after problems with depression and alcoholism, which he wrote about in his autobiography Return to Earth.
Buzz Aldrin married Lois Cannon in 1988, and today she manages all of Buzz Aldrin's many enterprises. They are both keen on skiiing & scuba diving.
The was, reportedly, some hostility between Armstrong and Aldrin beforehand as to which of them would be the first to set foot on the moon. Aldrin diplomatically remarked, "It would have been unacceptable for the commander to sit up in the lunar module while his co-pilot made the first historic step on the moon."
A famous incident occurred in 2002 when Aldrin punched 'conspiracy theorist', Bart Sibrel, who claimed that the moon landings were a hoax. Sibrel blocked Aldrin's path, calling him "a coward and a liar" outside a Beverly Hills hotel. Sibrel complained to police, but the authorities refused to press charges against Aldrin.
I met Buzz Aldrin at Autographica in London in October 2007. He signed a photograph for me and then let me have my photograph taken with him.
wings, he flew Sabre Jets in many combat missions during the Korean War.
times with Aldrin doing a 2 hours
and 20 minutes tethered space walk during the flight.
Buzz Aldrin's Gemini 12 space walk
saying, "Beautiful. Beautiful. Magnificent desolation."
mankind." Aldrin joined Armstrong
Armstrong's photograph of Aldrin descending
the lunar module to the Moon's surface
Apollo XI splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24th 1969. The astronauts were recovered by helicopter and immediately put in quarantine, in a special trailer on board the recovery ship USS Hornet. The quarantine was necessary in case the astronauts had brought back any bacteria from the moon. After three weeks in isolation, the men were released, and parades were held in their honour including a 'ticker-tape' welcome in New York.
President Nixon honoured each astronaut with the Medal of Freedom, the USA's highest award. The astronauts began a 45-day 'Giant Leap' tour to 45 different countries, meeting many world leaders including the Queen.
Many countries issued special stamps and coins to mark the first manned moon landing.
Return To Earth (1973)
Armstrong & Aldrin in 2005
Buzz & Lois Aldrin with Ronald Reagan
Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins & Neil Armstrong
looking at a sample of moon rock
Buzz Aldrin the scuba diver
Buzz Aldrin in 2000
Buzz Aldrin in USAF dress uniform
Buzz Aldrin with a Topping model
of a lunar module
Buzz Aldrin in US jet fighter
Buzz Aldrin signing my photo
Lift off for Apollo XI
Buzz Aldrin on board the
Lunar Module Eagle
The Lunar Module Eagle as seen from
the Command Module Columbia
Aldrin carries out experiments on the Moon
Buzz Aldrin salutes the American flag
The lunar plaque
Buzz Aldrin on the Moon
Buzz Aldrin on the Moon
Splashdown for Apollo XI
by President Richard Nixon
trailer on board USS Hornet being greeted
Armstrong, Collins & Aldrin in their quarantine
First Day Cover & commemorative stamp
This is the official NASA photograph of Buzz Aldrin that
he signed for me
A proud moment as I have my photo taken with the space-legend himself!
Aldrin is a now a Corporate Spokesman for several big American Companies, and makes promotional appearances for many famous brand named products.
He undertakes speaking engagements on a regular basis and has even been portrayed in The Simpsons and the Walt Disney film Toy Story!
The command module is now on display at the National Air& Space Museum in Washington DC.
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