Facts About NASA Astronaut Buzz Aldrin
A Life Of Space!
Buzz Aldrin is most famously remembered for being the second human to walk on the Moon during the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission, shortly after Neil Armstrong. Buzz either took or featured in many iconic images from man’s most incredible voyage, but Buzz enjoyed an eventful career before being a NASA astronaut and after his retirement from the agency.
Buzz’s Life Before NASA
Following graduation from West Point in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering, Buzz would serve as a fighter jet pilot during the Korean War; flying 66 combat missions. After further assignments with the USAF in the United States and West Germany, Buzz returned to complete his doctorate in astronautics. The subject of his thesis specialized in guidance techniques for orbital rendezvous dedicated to the crews of manned spaceflight that he wished to one day join!
Buzz’s Stellar NASA Career
Buzz Aldrin got his wish and was selected as a member of the third group of NASA astronauts in October 1963. His first spaceflight was scheduled to be aboard Gemini 12; the last Gemini mission. Buzz excelled when he successfully conducted 5 hours of extravehicular activity (EVA), proving that astronauts could work in space which was critical to the future to manned spaceflight.
Buzz’s second spaceflight was as the lunar module pilot aboard Apollo 11 which made the first lunar landing on July 20, 1969. Aldrin followed mission commander Neil Armstrong out onto the surface and became the second person to walk on the Moon. Once on the surface, Armstrong asked "Isn't it magnificent?" and Buzz famously responded "Magnificent desolation."
Upon their return to Earth, the crew of Apollo 11 enjoyed huge ticker-tape parades across the country and were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many other awards in the coming years.
Life After NASA
Buzz Aldrin retired from NASA in 1971 and became actively involved with promoting space exploration and the pursuit of the sciences. Buzz would also appear as himself in several shows/movies, or voice parodies of himself, such as the Simpsons episode ‘Deep Space Homer’. He has also written several books, is the oldest person to have visited the South Pole and is a great supporter of manned missions to the Planet Mars!