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Aldrin, Buzz



  • Existence: January 20, 1930-

Biographical Information

Edwin Eugene (Buzz) Aldrin, Jr. was born on January 20, 1930 in Montclair, New Jersey. He was nicknamed "Buzz" by his sister. His mother, Marion Moon, was the daughter of an army chaplain. His father, Air Force Colonel Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Sr., was a former student of rocket scientist Robert Goddard, and an aviation pioneer in his own right.

Aldrin graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1951, ranking third in his graduating class. After graduation, Aldrin was as an officer in the Air Force. A year later he was sent to Korea as a fighter pilot. He completed 66 fighter missions during the Korean War, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He then served as an Air Force instructor in Nevada before being assigned to the Air Force Academy as an aide and later a flight instructor. In 1956, he became a flight commander for a squadron in West Germany.

In 1959, Aldrin became interested in the developing U.S. space program. He enrolled in an engineering program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated in 1963 with a Doctor of Science degree in Orbital Mechanics; his thesis dealt with the piloting and rendezvous of two spacecraft in orbit.

Aldrin was selected to be in NASA's third group of astronauts in October of 1963. Aldrin was the first astronaut to hold a doctoral degree and the only astronaut who was not a test pilot. Aldrin's first space mission was Gemini 12, which was with Jim Lovell, Jr. in November of 1966. During this flight, Aldrin established a new record for extra vehicular activity.

Following completion of the Gemini missions, the race was on between the United States and Russia to see who would reach the moon first. Aldrin completed many more hours of training to prepare for his role in different Apollo spaceflights. In 1969, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Aldrin were chosen as the Apollo 11 crew. The United States was ready to launch a lunar landing flight. On July 20th, 1969, at 4:17 p.m., the Eagle landed on the Moon.

Aldrin resigned from NASA in 1971. Shortly afterwards he retired from the Air Force.


"Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr., Dr." Encyclopedia of World Biography Supplement, Vol. 18. Gale Research, 1998. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Dianna Thompson Collection of Apollo 11 Moon Landing news clippings

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSP 201
Scope and Contents The Dianna Thompson Collection of Apollo 11 Moon Landing news clippings documents the Apollo 11 moon landing and events leading up to and shortly afterwards. There are also articles about Janet Shearon Armstrong. Most of the articles are from Kansas City newspapers. Also included are a few editorial cartoons.
Dates: Other: 1969