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Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin and Neil Armstrong became the first men to walk on the surface of the Moon on 20 July 1969.
Buzz Aldrin was born in Montclair, New Jersey in 1930. His mother, Marion Moon, was the daughter of an Army Chaplain. His father, Edwin Eugene Aldrin, was an aviation pioneer, a student of rocket developer Robert Goddard and an aide to the immortal General Billy Mitchell. Buzz was educated at West Point, graduating with honours in 1951, third in his class. After receiving his wings, he flew Sabre Jets in 66 combat missions in the Korean Conflict, shooting down two MIG-15’s. Returning to his education, he earned a Doctorate in Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Manned Space Rendezvous. The techniques he devised were used on all NASA missions, including the first space docking with the Russian Cosmonauts.
In 1963, Buzz was selected by NASA as one of the early astronauts. In 1966, he established a new record for Extra-Vehicular Activity in space on the Gemini XII orbital flight mission. Buzz has logged 4500 hours of flying time, 290 of which were in space, including 8 hours of EVA. As Backup Command Module Pilot for Apollo VIII, man’s first flight around the moon, he significantly improved operational techniques for astronautical navigation star display. Then, on 20 July 1969 Buzz and Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo XI moon walk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world. This unprecedented heroic endeavour was witnessed by the largest worldwide television audience in history.
Upon his return, Buzz embarked on an international goodwill tour. He was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honour amongst over 50 distinguished awards and medals he received.
Since retiring from NASA, the Air Force and his position as Commander of the Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Dr Aldrin has remained at the forefront of efforts to ensure a continued leading role for America in manned space exploration. Advancing his lifelong commitment to venturing further into space, he has created a master plan of evolving missions for sustained exploration utilising his concept, ‘The Cycler’, a spacecraft system that makes perpetual orbits between Earth and Mars. In 1993 Dr Aldrin received a US patent for a permanent space station he designed. He has founded a rocket design company, Starcraft Boosters Inc and the ShareSpace Foundation, a non-profit organisation devoted to opening the doors to space tourism for all people.
Dr Aldrin has shared his vision for the future of space travel with today’s youth by writing an illustrated children’s book Reaching for the Moon (2005) that debuted at #2 on the New York Times Bestseller’s List and has garnered many publishing accolades. He has authored two space novels dramatically portraying man’s discovery of the ultimate frontier: The Return (2000) and Encounter with Tiber (1996). He has written an autobiography, Return to Earth (Random House, 1973) and the best-seller historical documentary, Men from Earth (1989), describing his trip to the moon and his unique perspective on America’s space program.
On Valentine’s Day 1988, Buzz married Lois Driggs Cannon of Phoenix, Arizona. She is a Stanford University graduate, an active community leader in Southern California, and personal manager of Buzz’s commercial enterprises. Their combined family is comprised of six grown children and one grandson. Their leisure time is spent exploring the deep-sea world of scuba diving and skiing the mountaintops of Sun Valley, Idaho.
Now Buzz, as Starcraft Enterprises, lectures and travels throughout the world to share his latest concepts and ideas for exploring the universe. He is a leading voice in charting the course of future space efforts from Planet Earth.
Photo of Buzz Aldrin: NASA
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