Born on January 20, 1930, in Montclair, New Jersey
, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin is one of the pioneering astronaut
s of our era
Buzz Aldrin's military career began in 1951, when he graduated third in his class from West Point Military Academy, before joining the US Air Force a year later, flying F86 'Sabre' jets during the Korean War. During the fighting, he claimed two confirmed MIG-15 kills before moving to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada to serve as an aerial gunner instructor.
After the conflict he decided to study at MIT, where his doctorate thesis was on 'Guidance for Manned Orbital Rendezvous', a topic which swiftly brought him to the attention of NASA. This initial recognition led to Aldrin helping NASA pioneer underwater training techniques, as a substitute for zero gravity work, before he was selected for astronaut training in 1963. As well as this honour, his theories on orbital rendezvous were slightly modified before becoming common practice for NASA astronauts. After this initial exposure, Aldrin was selected to fill the co-pilot position on Gemini XII, a four-day mission which he flew with James Lovell which launched on November 11, 1966, a flight during which the crew docked with the Agena Satellite. The operations on this craft gave Aldrin the opportunity to complete a then-record 5.5 hour space walk , an unknown length of time for such an operation. Another event during this mission was the failure of the spacecrafts radar, forcing him to dock manually - possibly the first practical use for a doctoral thesis ever recorded.
In 1969 Buzz Aldrin was selected to serve as one of the crew on Apollo XI, along with Neil Armstrong and Mike Collins. Four days later, Armstrong and Aldrin landed their Lunar Module on the Moon's Sea of Tranquility, to become the first men to set foot on the surface of a planet other than Earth
After his stint making history, NASA offered Aldrin a PR role, which annoyed him so much that he returned to active Air Force duty in 1971 and was assigned to Edwards Air Force Base, California as commander of the Test Pilots School, from which he soon retired after writing his autobiography, 'Return to Earth'. This was a brief peak in a decade which saw Buzz succumbing to alcoholism and depression - after the moon, where do you go?.
Aldrin's answer to this was to look into in space tourism. In 1995 he founded Starcraft Enterprises of Laguna Beach, California and started to look into the creation of a space hotel built from used space booster rockets. He has even gone on to co-author a book oon the subject with John Barnes entitled The Return.
Buzz Aldrin was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame on March 19, 1993.
Thanks to BlueDragon for the additional info