Edwin Eugene Aldrin
(Col, USAF, Ret.)
(1930 – )
Missions: Gemini 12, Apollo 11
Time in Space: 289 hours, 53 minutes
Second person to walk on the Moon
NASA astronaut Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr., was born on January 20, 1930, in Montclair, New Jersey. He studied mechanical engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating third in his class in 1951. After serving abroad with the United States Air Force, Aldrin returned to earn his Doctorate of Science degree in astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Aldrin began his career with NASA in October 1963 when he was selected to join the third group of astronauts. He flew two space missions: as Pilot for Gemini 12 in November 1966—the last mission of the Gemini program—and as Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 11 in July 1969, the first manned lunar-landing mission. President Richard Nixon awarded him and his Apollo 11 crewmates the Presidential Medal of Freedom upon their return. In total, Aldrin logged 289 hours and 53 minutes in space, of which seven hours and 52 minutes were spent in extravehicular activity.
While Aldrin retired from NASA in 1971 and the Air Force in 1972, he remains at the forefront of American efforts in manned space exploration. He devised a spacecraft system for Mars missions known as the “Aldrin Mars Cycler” and founded Starcraft Boosters, Inc., a rocket design company.