Buzz Aldrin, an engineer and former astronaut, is an American legend. If asked, most people would tell you Aldrin is famous for walking on the moon. While it is true the he was the second man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin has a life full of accomplishments and amazing feats. Come with us as we take a brief walk down Buzz Aldrin's journey in this quick biography of an American legend.
We begin our journey with Buzz Aldrin on January 20, 1930. Born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, Buzz Aldrin was the son of a military father. It was his father Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Sr., that instilled a passion for the military in Buzz at a young age. This passion was so strong in fact that when Massachusetts Institute of Technology offered him a scholarship, Buzz turned it down to join West point Military Academy.
After graduating third in his class at West Point, Buzz Aldrin was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. As a jet fighter in the Korean War, he flew in 66 combat missions. Life magazine published photos taken by Buzz from his gun camera in June, 1953. After the war, Buzz was an aerial gunnery, aide to the dean of faculty at the United States Air Force Academy and a flight commander.
Buzz Aldrin did finally go to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received his Doctor of Science degree in Astronautics in 1963. Afterwards, Buzz was assigned to the Gemini Target Office of the Air Force Space Systems Division. When he first applied to be an astronaut, his application was denied because he had never been a test pilot. This rule was lifted and he re-applied, being accepted to the third astronaut class in October of 1963.
Buzz Aldrin was promoted to backup crew for the Gemini mission after the tragic deaths of two astronauts. It is here, with Gemini 9A, that Aldrin improvised an effective exercise after a failed mission. Gemini 12 was the last Gemini mission, and the first one Buzz was confirmed as pilot on. During this mission, he showed that astronauts could actually work outside the spacecraft.
Then came Apollo 11. This was the first manned lunar landing ever, and Buzz Aldrin was the pilot. On July 21, 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Even though there were talks about Buzz being the first man to step onto the surface of the moon, it was commander Neil Armstrong who would take that honor, mostly due to the way he and Buzz were situated inside the lunar landing module. The first step aside, there a few things that Buzz Aldrin did before anyone else while on the moon. By taking communion, Buzz became the first person to hold a religious ceremony, eat a food and drink a liquid on the moon.
Since his retirement in 1971, Buzz Aldrin has continued to shape history and pop culture. He promotes space exploration, produced his own video game and made a rap video with Snoop Dogg to help Aldrin's charity ShareSpace. Buzz has even been featured on iconic shows The Simpsons and Futurama, as well as in the film Transformers: Dark of the Moon.