Buzz Aldrin

Part of: 
  • Buzz Aldrin in 1969
    Credit: NASA
    Name: Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr.
  • Born: 20th January 1930
  • Nationality: USA
  • Occupation: astronaut, fighter pilot, engineer
  • Time in space: 12 days, 1 hour, 52 minutes

Buzz grew up in New Jersey, USA. After school, Buzz went to a Military Academy where he got a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering. He then joined the US Air Force and flew as a fighter pilot during the Korean War. After the war, he completed a PhD in Astronautics at MIT. 

In 1963, NASA selected him as an astronaut. Buzz had previously been rejected by NASA because he did not have any experience as a test pilot. However, his PhD made him an expert in spacecraft rendezvous and docking. This is when 2 crafts arrive close to one another at the same orbit and then join together in space. The skills and ideas Buzz brought were key to the successes of the Gemini and Apollo missions and are still used today. 

In 1966, Buzz was part of the two-person crew on the Gemini 12 mission. He set a new record for longest space walk (or EVA, extravehicular activity). During the EVA, Buzz also took the first 'selfie' in space.

Buzz was then chosen for the Apollo 11 mission. This was the first mission to land people on the Moon. Buzz was the second person to step on the Moon, the day after Neil Armstrong.

Buzz was given his nickname as a child. His older sister mispronounced 'brother' as 'buzzer', which was shortened to 'buzz'. He made it his legal first name in 1988.