Buzz Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin is an American astronaut and engineer who is best known for being the second person to walk on the moon. He was born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr. on January 20, 1930 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. He was the son of Edwin Eugene Aldrin Sr., an aviation pioneer, and Marion Aldrin, a homemaker.

Aldrin attended Montclair High School and graduated in 1947. He then attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating third in his class in 1951. After graduating, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force and served as a jet fighter pilot during the Korean War. He flew 66 combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After the war, Aldrin attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a doctorate in astronautics in 1963. During his time at MIT, he developed the “Aldrin cycler”, a special trajectory that would allow a spacecraft to travel between two points in space without using any fuel. This trajectory was later used by the Apollo 11 mission to reach the moon.

In October 1963, Aldrin was selected as one of the fourteen astronauts for the Apollo program. He was assigned to the Gemini 12 mission, which was the last of the Gemini missions. During the mission, Aldrin performed the first successful extravehicular activity (EVA) in space, spending over five hours outside the spacecraft.

In July 1969, Aldrin was part of the Apollo 11 mission, which was the first mission to land humans on the moon. He and Neil Armstrong became the first two humans to walk on the moon. Aldrin was the second person to step onto the moon’s surface, famously saying “magnificent desolation” as he looked around.

After the Apollo 11 mission, Aldrin continued to work for NASA. He was the backup commander for the Apollo 14 mission and was the commander of the Apollo 15 mission, which was the first mission to use the Lunar Roving Vehicle. He also served as the backup commander for the Apollo 16 mission.

In 1971, Aldrin retired from NASA and the Air Force. He then became a professor at the University of South California, where he taught astronautics and aeronautics. He also wrote several books about his experiences in space, including Return to Earth and Magnificent Desolation.

In recent years, Aldrin has become an advocate for space exploration. He has spoken out in favor of a manned mission to Mars and has been a vocal supporter of private space exploration companies such as SpaceX. He has also been an outspoken critic of the current state of the US space program, arguing that it needs to be more ambitious and innovative.

Aldrin’s legacy as an astronaut and engineer is undeniable. He was the first person to perform an EVA in space and the second person to walk on the moon. He has also been a tireless advocate for space exploration and has inspired generations of scientists and engineers. His contributions to the space program will be remembered for generations to come.