{image via NASA}

American astronaut and international hero Buzz Aldrin was born Erwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr. on January 20, 1930, in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, USA, The nickname Buzz came from his sister mispronouncing “brother” as ‘buzzer.’ He adopted Buzz as his legal name in 1988. He served as pilot on the Gemini 12 mission in 1966, and did three spacewalks on that mission.

He was pilot of the Lunar Module Eagle on the historic Apollo 11 mission in 1969.


Colonel Aldrin was the first astronaut who had a doctorate,

Buzz Aldrin attended the U. S. Military Academy in West Point. He graduated in 1951 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Upon graduation he was commissioned into the newest branch of the service at the time, the United States Air Force, which only separated from the army in 1947. He spent twenty-one years in the Air Force, serving his country honorably. He retired in 1972. Aldrin earned a doctorate in aeronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, making him the first astronaut with a doctoral degree. Now we take it for granted that astronauts should have a Ph. D. or a Sci.D. degree, like Dr. Mae Jemison, Dr. Shannon Lucid, Dr. Thomas Marshburn, etc., but in the early days of the space program, test pilot training or fighter pilot experience was considered more important than STEM education. Aldrin had both. He was a fighter pilot during the Korean Police Action who flew 66 combat missions and shot down two MiG-15s. After leaving NASA in 1971, Aldrin became commandant of the U. S. Air Force Test Pilot School. In 1955, Aldrin graduated from the Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base.

{image via NASA} Col. Aldrinperforms an EVA during the Gemini XII mission, with the Agena Target Vehicle visible in the background.

His fellow astronauts nicknamed him Dr. Rendezvous because his doctoral dissertation was  Line-of-Sight Guidance Techniques for Manned Orbital Rendezvous. Dr. Aldrin set the example for astrobauts being scientists as well as explorerers,

As pilot of the Eagle he was one of the first people, along with Neil Armstrong, to set foot on the Moon.

Over the course of his career as an astronaut, Dr. Aldrin spent nearly eight hours EVA (extra-vehicular activity). He made four spacewalks for a total of seven hours and fifty-two minutes. Overall, Dr. Aldrin spent twelve days, one hour, and 53 minutes in space.

Dr. Aldrin has been married and divorced three times, and has three children.

The First Religious Ceremony on the Moon

As a Presbyterian Elder, Dr. Aldrin celebrated communion on the Moon. Hw did so privately, secretly because as a United States Air Force officer he was bound by oath to uphold the Constitution, including the First Amendment,


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.

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