Status: Inactive; Active 1963-1971. Born: 1930-01-20. Spaceflights: 2 . Total time in space: 12.08 days. Birth Place: Glen Ridge, New Jersey.
Flew 66 combat missions and destroyed two MIG-15 aircraft in Korea.
Official NASA Biography as of June 2016:Buzz Aldrin, Ph.D. (Colonel, USAF, Ret.)
NASA Astronaut (former)
PERSONAL DATA: Born January 20, 1930, in Montclair, New Jersey. Two sons, one daughter. Married to the former Lois Driggs Cannon of Phoenix. Their combined family is comprised of six grown children and one grandson.
EDUCATION: Graduated from Montclair High School, Montclair, New Jersey; received a bachelor of science degree in 1951 from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, graduating third in his class; and a doctorate of science in Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. His thesis was "Guidance for Manned Orbital Rendezvous." Aldrin has honorary degrees from six colleges and universities.
SPECIAL HONORS: Aldrin has received numerous decorations and awards, including the Presidential Medal for Freedom in 1969, the Robert J. Collier Trophy, the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, and the Harmon International Trophy in 1967.
NASA EXPERIENCE: Aldrin was one of the third group of astronauts named by NASA in October 1963.
On November 11, 1966, he and command pilot James Lovell were launched into space in the Gemini 12 spacecraft on a 4-day flight, which brought the Gemini program to a successful close. Aldrin established a new record for extravehicular activity (EVA), spending 5-1/2 hours outside the spacecraft.
He served as lunar module pilot for Apollo 11, July 16-24, 1969, the first manned lunar landing mission. Aldrin followed Neil Armstrong onto the lunar surface on July 20, 1969, completing a 2-hour and 15 minute lunar EVA.
In July 1971, Aldrin resigned from NASA. Aldrin has logged 289 hours and 53 minutes in space, of which, 7 hours and 52 minutes were spent in EVA.
EXPERIENCE: Prior to joining NASA, Aldrin flew 66 combat missions in F-86's while on duty in Korea. At Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, he served as an aerial gunnery instructor. Following his assignment as aide to the dean of faculty at the Air Force Academy, Aldrin flew F-100's as a flight commander at Bitburg, Germany. He went on to receive a doctorate at MIT, and was then assigned to the Gemini Target Office of the Air Force Space Systems Division, Los Angeles. In March 1972, Aldrin retired from Air Force active duty, after 21 years of service. As a USAF jet fighter pilot during the Korean War, he shot down two MIG 15 aircraft.
Since retiring from NASA, the Air Force, and his position as commander of the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in 1972, he authored an autobiography, "Return to Earth". Aldrin has remained at the forefront of efforts to ensure a continued leading role for America in manned space exploration to advance his life-long commitment to venturing outward in space.
In addition, he lectures throughout the world on his unique perspective of America's future in space. He has just authored a book about the Apollo Program titled "Men from Earth".
Dr. Aldrin is President of Starcraft Enterprise, Laguna Beach, California.
This is the only version available from NASA. Updates must be sought direct from the above named individual.
NAME: Buzz Aldrin
BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Aldrin was born Jan. 20, 1930, in Montclair, N.J.
EDUCATION: Aldrin received a Bachelor of Science degree from the U. S. Military Academy in 1951, graduating third in his class. In 1961-1962 he attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he received a Doctorate of Science with the thesis "Guidance for Manned Orbital Rendezvous".
EXPERIENCE: Aldrin entered the Air Force and earned his pilot wings in 1952. As an F-86 fighter pilot in Korea he flew 66 combat missions and destroyed two MIG-15 aircraft. He later served as an aerial gunner instructor at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, as aide to the dean of faculty at the Air Force Academy, and with an F-100 squadron in Germany. Following his studies at MIT, Aldrin was assigned to the Gemini Target Office of the Air Force Systems Command in Los Angeles.
Aldrin was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1963. The concept of space rendezvous he formulated at MIT was selected and modified for all NASA rendezvous missions. Aldrin was able to see his theories in work aboard Gemini 12, a four-day mission he flew with James A. Lovell beginning Nov. 11, 1966. This final Gemini mission proved that NASA and its astronauts had mastered all of the difficulties that occurred earlier in the programme. Gemini 12 docked with an Agena target, and Aldrin made a record 5.5 hour space walk. Using handholds and foot restraints and resting frequently he was able to do all his tasks without the difficulties experienced on earlier EVA's.
On July 20, 1969, Aldrin became the second human being to set foot on the moon. He was joined Neil Armstrong on the surface for two hours of ceremonies and moon rock collecting. The next day the astronauts' Lunar Module lifted off from the lunar surface and docked with the Apollo 11 command module, piloted by Mike Collins, in lunar orbit. Armstrong and Aldrin transferred their moon rocks to the command module. The Lunar Module ascent stage was cast off and the crew rocketed to a safe recovery in the Pacific Ocean.
Aldrin returned to active Air Force duty in 1971 and was assigned as commander of the Test Pilots School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. He encountered personal emotional difficulties and retired from the Air Force as a Colonel in 1972. He remained active in space activism, serving as President of Starcraft Enterprises of Laguna Beach, California and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the National Space Society. He authored three books: "Return to Earth" which documents his difficulties following the first moon landing, "Men From Earth", and the a science-fiction novel, "Encounter With Tiber".
Astronaut Edwin Aldrin walks on lunar surface near leg of Lunar Module
NASA announced that it would select 10 to 15 new astronauts to begin training in October. Civilian applications were due July 1; those from military personnel, prescreened by their services, were due July 15. New selection criteria reduced the maximum age to 35 years and eliminated the requirement for test pilot certifications.
The group was selected to provide crew members for planned Apollo missions (then planned as 4 Saturn I missions in 1965, 2-4 Saturn IB missions in 1966, 6 Saturn V missions from 1967).. Qualifications: Qualified jet pilot with minimum 1,000 flight-hours, bachleor's degree in engineering or physical or biological sciences, under 35 years old, under 183 cm height, excellent health. US citizen.. There were 271 applications, 200 from civilians (including two women) and 71 from military pilots (including two African-Americans). President Kennedy pushed for NASA to appoint a black astronaut, but neither of the applicants met the test pilot requirements. Bobby Kennedy arranged for one of these, USAF Captain Edward Dwight, to be enrolled in the USAF Test Pilot school. He graduated, and then had the necessary qualifications. He was 28 years old, an engineering school graduate, and a B-57 bomber command pilot with 2,000 hours flying time. However NASA did not find him as well qualified as other candidates, and he was not among the 32 chosen for final physical and mental tests.
From these 32, the final 14 were selected. Of them, four would die (two in a T-38 crash, one in a car crash, and one in the Apollo 204 ground fire) before flying in space. All of the ten remaining would fly in the Apollo program.
NASA announced the selection of 14 astronauts for Projects Gemini and Apollo, bringing to 30 the total number of American spacemen. They were Maj. Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., Capt. William A. Anders, Capt. Charles A. Bassett II, Capt. Michael Collins, Capt. Donn F. Eisele, Capt. Theodore C. Freeman, and Capt. David R. Scott of the Air Force; Lt. Cdr. Richard F. Gordon, Jr., Lt. Alan L. Bean, Lt. Eugene A. Cernan, and Lt. Roger B. Chaffee of the Navy; Capt. Clifton C. Williams, Jr., of the Marine Corps; R. Walter Cunningham, research scientist for the Rand Corporation; and Russell L. Schweickart, research scientist for MIT.
At a meeting of the Gemini Project Office's Trajectories and Orbits Panel, members of Flight Operations Division described two mission plans currently under consideration for the first Agena rendezvous flight. One was based on the concept of tangential Agena and spacecraft orbits, as proposed by Howard W. Tindall, Jr., and James T. Rose when they were members of Space Task Group. The second plan, based on a proposal by Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., then of Air Force Space Systems Division, involved orbits which were concentric rather than tangential. The most significant advantage of the second plan was that it provided the greatest utilization of onboard backup techniques; that is, it was specifically designed to make optimum use of remaining onboard systems in the event of failure in the inertial guidance system platform, computer, or radar.
MSC announced a realignment of specialty areas for the 13 astronauts not assigned to forthcoming Gemini missions (GT 3 through 5) or to strictly administrative positions:
Charles A. Bassett - operations handbooks, training, and simulators
Alan L. Bean - recovery systems
Michael Collins - pressure suits and extravehicular activity
David R. Scott - mission planning and guidance and navigation
Clifton C. Williams - range operations, deep space instrumentation, and crew safety.
Donn F. Eisele - CSM and LEM
William A. Anders - environmental control system and radiation and thermal systems
Eugene A. Cernan - boosters, spacecraft propulsion, and the Agena stage
Roger B. Chaffee - communications, flight controls, and docking
R. Walter Cunningham - electrical and sequential systems and non-flight experiments
Russell L. Schweickart - in-flight experiments and future programs.
At the first launch attempt, while the crew waited buttoned up in the spacecraft on the pad, their Agena docking target field blew up on the way to orbit. NASA decided to use an Atlas to launch an Agena docking collar only. This was called the Augmented Target Docking Adapter. Ths was successfully launched and the Gemini succeeded in rendezvousing with it. However, the ATDA shroud had not completely separated, thus making docking impossible. However three different types of rendezvous were tested with the ATDA. Cernan began his EVA, which was to include flight with a USAF MMU rocket pack but the Gemini suit could not handle heat load of the astronaut's exertions. Cernan's faceplate fogs up, forcing him to blindly grope back into the Gemini hatch after only two hours.
Seventh manned and third rendezvous mission of the Gemini program. Major objectives of the mission were to rendezvous and dock with the augmented target docking adapter (ATDA) and to conduct extravehicular activities (EVA). These objectives were only partially met. After successfully achieving rendezvous during the third revolution - a secondary objective - the crew discovered that the ATDA shroud had failed to separate, precluding docking - a primary objective - as well as docking practice - another secondary objective. The crew was able, however, to achieve other secondary objectives: an equi-period rendezvous, using onboard optical techniques and completed at 6 hours 36 minutes ground elapsed time; and a rendezvous from above, simulating the rendezvous of an Apollo command module with a lunar module in a lower orbit (completed at 21 hours 42 minutes ground elapsed time). Final separation maneuver was performed at 22 hours 59 minutes after liftoff. EVA was postponed because of crew fatigue, and the second day was given over to experiments. The hatch was opened for EVA at 49 hours 23 minutes ground elapsed time. EVA was successful, but one secondary objective - evaluation of the astronaut maneuvering unit (AMU) - was not achieved because Cernan's visor began fogging. The extravehicular life support system apparently became overloaded with moisture when Cernan had to work harder than anticipated to prepare the AMU for donning. Cernan reentered the spacecraft, and the hatch was closed at 51 hours 28 minutes into the flight. The rest of the third day was spent on experiments.
Two very serious astronauts get it all right to end the program. Docked and redocked with Agena, demonstrating various Apollo scenarios including manual rendezvous and docking without assistance from ground control. Aldrin finally demonstrates ability to accomplish EVA without overloading suit by use of suitable restraints and careful movement.
Major objectives of the mission were to rendezvous and dock and to evaluate extravehicular activities (EVA). Among the secondary objectives were tethered vehicle evaluation, experiments, third revolution rendezvous and docking, automatic reentry demonstration, docked maneuvering for a high-apogee excursion, docking practice, systems tests, and Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) parking. The high-apogee excursion was not attempted because an anomaly was noted in the GATV primary propulsion system during insertion, and parking was not attempted because the GATV's attitude control gas was depleted. All other objectives were achieved. Nine spacecraft maneuvers effected rendezvous with the GATV. The onboard radar malfunctioned before the terminal phase initiate maneuver, but the crew used onboard backup procedures to calculate the maneuvers. Rendezvous was achieved at 3 hours 46 minutes ground elapsed time, docking 28 minutes later. Two phasing maneuvers, using the GATV secondary propulsion system, were accomplished, but the primary propulsion system was not used. The first of two periods of standup EVA began at 19 hours 29 minutes into the flight and lasted for 2 hours 29 minutes. During a more than two-hour umbilical EVA which began at 42 hours 48 minutes, Aldrin attached a 100-foot tether from the GATV to the spacecraft docking bar. He spent part of the period at the spacecraft adapter, evaluating various restraint systems and performing various basic tasks. The second standup EVA lasted 55 minutes, ending at 67 hours 1 minute ground elapsed time. The tether evaluation began at 47 hours 23 minutes after liftoff, with the crew undocking from the GATV. The tether tended to remain slack, although the crew believed that the two vehicles did slowly attain gravity-gradient stabilization. The crew jettisoned the docking bar and released the tether at 51 hours 51 minutes. Several spacecraft systems suffered problems during the flight. Two fuel cell stacks failed and had to be shut down, while two others experienced significant loss of power. At 39 hours 30 minutes ground elapsed time, the crew reported that little or no thrust was available from two orbit attitude and maneuver thrusters.
Retrofire occurred 94 hours after liftoff. Reentry was automatically controlled. The spacecraft landed at 19:20 GMT less than 5 km from the planned landing point on November 15. The crew was picked up by helicopter and deposited 28 minutes later on the deck of the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Wasp. The spacecraft was recovered 67 minutes after landing.
Apollo 8 (AS-503) was launched from KSC Launch Complex 39, Pad A, at 7:51 a.m. EST Dec. 21 on a Saturn V booster. The spacecraft crew was made up of Frank Borman, James A. Lovell, Jr., and William A. Anders. Apollo 8 was the first spacecraft to be launched by a Saturn V with a crew on board, and that crew became the first men to fly around the moon.
All launch and boost phases were normal and the spacecraft with the S-IVB stage was inserted into an earth-parking orbit of 190.6 by 183.2 kilometers above the earth. After post-insertion checkout of spacecraft systems, the S-IVB stage was reignited and burned 5 minutes 9 seconds to place the spacecraft and stage in a trajectory toward the moon - and the Apollo 8 crew became the first men to leave the earth's gravitational field.
The spacecraft separated from the S-IVB 3 hours 20 minutes after launch and made two separation maneuvers using the SM's reaction control system. Eleven hours after liftoff, the first midcourse correction increased velocity by 26.4 kilometers per hour. The coast phase was devoted to navigation sightings, two television transmissions, and system checks. The second midcourse correction, about 61 hours into the flight, changed velocity by 1.5 kilometers per hour.
The 4-minute 15-second lunar-orbit-insertion maneuver was made 69 hours after launch, placing the spacecraft in an initial lunar orbit of 310.6 by 111.2 kilometers from the moon's surface - later circularized to 112.4 by 110.6 kilometers. During the lunar coast phase the crew made numerous landing-site and landmark sightings, took lunar photos, and prepared for the later maneuver to enter the trajectory back to the earth.
On the fourth day, Christmas Eve, communications were interrupted as Apollo 8 passed behind the moon, and the astronauts became the first men to see the moon's far side. Later that day , during the evening hours in the United States, the crew read the first 10 verses of Genesis on television to earth and wished viewers "goodnight, good luck, a Merry Christmas and God bless all of you - all of you on the good earth."
Subsequently, TV Guide for May 10-16, 1969, claimed that one out of every four persons on earth - nearly 1 billion people in 64 countries - heard the astronauts' reading and greeting, either on radio or on TV; and delayed broadcasts that same day reached 30 additional countries.
On Christmas Day, while the spacecraft was completing its 10th revolution of the moon, the service propulsion system engine was fired for three minutes 24 seconds, increasing the velocity by 3,875 km per hr and propelling Apollo 8 back toward the earth, after 20 hours 11 minutes in lunar orbit. More television was sent to earth on the way back.
How the decision was reached on who would be the first man to step out onto the moon was reported in a letter by ASPO Manager George M. Low: "Some time during the middle of the night, I had a call from Associated Press informing me that they had a story that Neil Armstrong had pulled rank on Buzz Aldrin to be the first man on the surface of the moon. They wanted to know whether it was true and how the decision was reached concerning who would get out of the LM first.
"To the best of my recollection, I gave the following information:
"a. There had been many informal plans developed during the past several years concerning the lunar timeline. These probably included all combinations of one man out versus two men out, who gets out first, etc.
"b. There was only one approved plan and that was established 2 to 4 weeks prior to our public announcement of this planning. I believe that this was in April 1969.
"c. The basic decision was made by my Configuration Control Board. It was based on a recommendation by the Flight Crew Operations Directorate. I am sure that Armstrong had made an input to this recommendation, but he, by no means, had the final say. The CCB decision was final."
First landing on moon. Apollo 11 (AS-506) - with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., aboard - was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 9:32 a.m. EDT July 16. The activities during earth-orbit checkout, translunar injection, CSM transposition and docking, spacecraft ejection, and translunar coast were similar to those of Apollo 10.
At 4:40 p.m. EDT July 18, the crew began a 96-minute color television transmission of the CSM and LM interiors, CSM exterior, the earth, probe and drogue removal, spacecraft tunnel hatch opening, food preparation, and LM housekeeping. One scheduled and two unscheduled television broadcasts had been made previously by the Apollo 11 crew.
The spacecraft entered lunar orbit at 1:28 p.m. EDT on July 19. During the second lunar orbit a live color telecast of the lunar surface was made. A second service-propulsion-system burn placed the spacecraft in a circularized orbit, after which astronaut Aldrin entered the LM for two hours of housekeeping including a voice and telemetry test and an oxygen-purge-system check.
At 8:50 a.m. July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin reentered the LM and checked out all systems. They performed a maneuver at 1:11 p.m. to separate the LM from the CSM and began the descent to the moon. The LM touched down on the moon at 4:18 p.m. EDT July 20. Armstrong reported to mission control at MSC, "Houston, Tranquillity Base here - the Eagle has landed." (Eagle was the name given to the Apollo 11 LM; the CSM was named Columbia.) Man's first step on the moon was taken by Armstrong at 10:56 p.m. EDT. As he stepped onto the surface of the moon, Armstrong described the feat as "one small step for man - one giant leap for mankind."
Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface of the moon at 11:15 p.m. July 20. The astronauts unveiled a plaque mounted on a strut of the LM and read to a worldwide TV audience, "Here men from the planet earth first set foot on the moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind." After raising the American flag and talking to President Nixon by radiotelephone, the two astronauts deployed the lunar surface experiments assigned to the mission and gathered 22 kilograms of samples of lunar soil and rocks. They then reentered the LM and closed the hatch at 1:11 a.m. July 21. All lunar extravehicular activities were televised in black-and-white. Meanwhile, Collins continued orbiting moon alone in CSM Columbia.
The Eagle lifted off from the moon at 1:54 p.m. EDT July 21, having spent 21 hours 36 minutes on the lunar surface. It docked with the CSM at 5:35 p.m. and the crew, with the lunar samples and film, transferred to the CSM. The LM ascent stage was jettisoned into lunar orbit. The crew then rested and prepared for the return trip to the earth.
The CSM was injected into a trajectory toward the earth at 12:55 a.m. EDT July 22. Following a midcourse correction at 4:01 p.m., an 18-minute color television transmission was made, in which the astronauts demonstrated the weightlessness of food and water and showed shots of the earth and the moon.
At 16:50 GMT Apollo 11's command module Columbia splashed down in the mid-Pacific, about 24 kilometers from the recovery ship U.S.S. Hornet. Following decontamination procedures at the point of splashdown, the astronauts were carried by helicopter to the Hornet where they entered a mobile quarantine facility to begin a period of observation under strict quarantine conditions. The CM was recovered and removed to the quarantine facility. Sample containers and film were flown to Houston.
All primary mission objectives and all detailed test objectives of Apollo 11 were met, and all crew members remained in good health.
George Low, James McDivitt, Neil Armstrong, and Edwin Aldrin discussed lunar exploration that could be carried out by astronauts walking in spacesuits or riding roving vehicles. The following conclusions were reached: "a. A possible mode of exploration would be to walk 1 hour (3 to 5 miles (5 to 8 kilometers)) to an exploration site; spend 1 to 2 hours at that site; and then return to the LM. b. It would be easy to carry anything that need be carried, provided that it did not require the hands for the purpose. c. A roving vehicle might work if it had extremely large wheels. There appeared to be no significant advantage of using the presently conceived roving vehicle instead of walking. d. All extravehicular excursions should be carried out by two men at a time. e. Excursions should not be carried out beyond the radius of ground communications."