Here’s a look at the life of astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
Birth date: January 20, 1930
Birth place: Montclair, New Jersey
Birth name: Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr.
Father: Edwin Aldrin Sr., an aviation pioneer and oil executive
Mother: Marion (Moon) Aldrin
Marriages: Lois Driggs Cannon (February 14, 1988-December 28, 2012, divorced); Beverly Van Zile (December 31, 1975-date unknown publicly, divorced); Joan A. (Archer) Aldrin (December 29, 1954-1972, divorced)
Children: with Joan A. (Archer) Aldrin: James Michael, Janice Ross and Andrew John
Education: US Military Academy at West Point, B.S., 1951; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Astronautics Sc.D., 1963
Military service: US Air Force, 1951-1972, Colonel
The nickname “Buzz” came from the way his sister Fay Ann said the word buzzer instead of brother.
As a fighter pilot in the Korean War, he completed 66 F-86 combat missions, destroyed two MiG’s, damaged another, and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross.
His doctoral dissertation at M.I.T. dealt with the piloting and rendezvous of two spacecraft in orbit. Aldrin’s techniques have been used on many NASA missions.
He logged 289 hours and 53 minutes in space between the Gemini and Apollo programs.
1951 – Graduates third in his class at West Point, out of 475.
October 17, 1963 – Is part of the third group of men selected by NASA to be astronauts.
November 11, 1966 – Is launched into space as the pilot of Gemini 12. Aldrin sets a new Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) record of 5 ½ hours. The flight lasts almost four days.
July 20, 1969 – After landing near the Sea of Tranquility, Armstrong and Aldrin spend about two hours on the surface. Aldrin then pilots the Lunar Module back to the Command Module orbiting above.
1969 – Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Richard Nixon.
1971 – Retires from NASA.
1971-1972 – Commandant of the Aerospace Research Pilots School, Edwards Air Force Base, California.
1971 – Is hospitalized in San Antonio for depression and alcoholism.
March 1972 – Retires from the Air Force as a colonel.
1988 – Legally changes his name to Buzz Aldrin.
1993 – Patents his design for a permanent space station.
March 19, 1993 – Is inducted into the Astronauts Hall of Fame.
1994 – Appears as himself on “The Simpsons.”
1996 – Founds the rocket design company, Starcraft Boosters, Inc.
1998 – Founds ShareSpace, a nonprofit company designed to help fund and promote mass-market space travel.
2002 – President George W. Bush appoints Aldrin to the Presidential Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry.
September 9, 2002 – Punches journalist Bart Sibrel after he demands that Aldrin prove he had actually been to the moon.
July 21, 2004 – Attends a White House ceremony with Armstrong and Collins marking the 35th anniversary of Apollo 11.
December 15, 2006 – Makes a cameo appearance on the television show “Numb3rs.”
March 20, 2007 – Aldrin opens the Skywalk, a glass bottomed observation deck over the Grand Canyon, that extends 70 feet from the canyon wall.
May 14, 2009 – “Look to the Stars,” a children’s book about space travel penned by Aldrin and illustrated by Wendell Minor, is published.
June 2009 – Autobiography “Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon” is published.
August 19, 2009 – NASA receives the Philo T. Farnsworth Award, an Emmy given to NASA for, “…engineering excellence and technological innovations that made possible the first live TV broadcast from the moon by the Apollo 11…” Aldrin accepts on behalf of NASA.
March-April 2010 – Competes on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.” Aldrin is voted off the show on April 6, 2010.
November 16, 2011 – Receives the Congressional Gold Medal for Distinguished Astronauts along with Armstrong, Collins and John Glenn.
May 7, 2013 – Aldrin makes a case for commercial travel into the cosmos with the book, “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration.”
July 30, 2015 – On Twitter, Aldrin posts an expense report from his trip to the moon in 1969. According to the voucher, Aldrin was reimbursed $33.31 for his voyage from Houston to the moon and back.
September 1, 2015 – Aldrin collaborates with author, Marianne Dyson on a children’s book, “Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet,” published by National Geographic.
December 1, 2016 – Is evacuated from the South Pole and flown to New Zealand. Aldrin was part of a tourist group visiting Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
December 3, 2016 – In an online statement, Aldrin says he became short of breath and had congestion in his lungs, symptoms of altitude sickness, while at the South Pole. Aldrin’s manager says he went to Antarctica to experience conditions more similar to Mars than any other place on earth.