The Aldrin Family Foundation honors the legacy of
Apollo 11 Astronaut Dr. Buzz Aldrin
From flying fighter jets in the Korean War to being one of the first humans to walk on the Moon, Buzz has dedicated his life to exploring and continuing America’s quest to conquer space.
He was born in Montclair, New Jersey on January 20, 1930. Upon graduating one year early from high school, Buzz attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating third in his class with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. He then joined the U.S. Air Force, where he flew F86 Sabre Jets in 66 combat missions in Korea, shot down two MIG-15s and received the Distinguished Flying Cross. After a tour of duty in Germany flying F100s, he earned his doctorate of science in astronautics at MIT and wrote his thesis on manned orbital rendezvous.
In 1963, NASA selected Buzz into its third group of astronauts. The only one with a doctorate, he became known as “Dr. Rendezvous.” The docking and rendezvous techniques he devised for spacecraft in Earth and lunar orbit became critical to the success of the Gemini and Apollo programs, and are still used today. He also pioneered underwater training techniques as a substitute for zero-gravity flights to simulate spacewalking. On the Gemini 12 orbital mission in 1966, Buzz performed the world’s first successful spacewalk and set an EVA record of 5 ½ hours.
On July 20, 1969, Buzz and Neil Armstrong made history as part of Apollo 11, becoming the first two humans to set foot on the Moon. An estimated 600 million people – at that time, the world’s largest television audience in history – witnessed this unprecedented heroic endeavor. Upon returning to Earth, Buzz received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest American peacetime award, as well as numerous distinguished awards and medals from 23 other countries. The Asteroid “6470 Aldrin” and the “Aldrin Crater” are named after him. He and his Apollo 11 crewmates have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2011, they all received the Congressional Gold Medal for their significant contribution to society and for blazing the trail of exploration.
Upon retiring from NASA and the U.S. Air Force, Buzz championed America’s continued leadership in human space exploration. He devised a master plan for missions to Mars known as the “Aldrin Mars Cycler” – a spacecraft system with perpetual cycling orbits between Earth and Mars. He received three U.S. patents for his schematics of a modular space station, Starbooster reusable rockets and multi-crew modules for space flight. He launched the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at Florida Institute of Technology to promote and develop his vision of a permanent human settlement on Mars. He also founded three entities: Starcraft Boosters, Inc., a rocket design company; ShareSpace Foundation, a nonprofit that ignites student passion for science through STEAM-based activities and boosts overall scientific literacy; and Buzz Aldrin Enterprises, Inc., which promotes his brand via public appearances, media, licensing and endorsements to promote the future of the space program.
Buzz is the author of nine books – most recently, “Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet,” which is geared for children, and “No Dream Is Too High: Life Lessons from a Man Who Walked on the Moon,” both New York Times and Washington Post best-sellers. Other books include autobiographies, space-science/fact-fiction novels and an historical documentary.
Buzz continues to chart a course for future space travel and is passionate about inspiring the younger generations of future explorers and innovators.