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Buzz Aldrin is an American engineer, former astronaut, and fighter pilot. As lunar module pilot on the Apollo 11 mission, he and mission commander Neil Armstrong were the first two humans to land on the Moon.
"Buzz Aldrin relives the Magnificent Desolation of space, and the soul-sucking depression that awaited back home." - Vanity Fair, Hot Type
"An admirable account of an icon of the golden age of space flight." - Kirkus Reviews
"Space fans, in particular, will cheer." Booklist
"Aldrin presents a no-holds-barred account of how his celebrity, career and human weaknesses nearly destroyed his life. This inspiring story exhibits Aldrin as a different, perfectly human kind of hero, giving readers a sympathetic look at a man eclipsed by his own legend. " Publishers Weekly
"Buzz Aldrin relives the Magnificent Desolation of space, and the soul-sucking depression that awaited back home." - Vanity Fair," Hot Type
"Riveting reading." - The Economist
"Leads the field of new releases.The candid portrayal of his earthly battles, often written with great humor, make this a cut above the rest.Great holiday reading." -New Scientist
"Captivating - an engaging first-hand account by one of history's most important explorers." - Alive East Bay
Buzz Aldrin ( born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr.; January 20, 1930) is an American engineer, former astronaut, and fighter pilot. As lunar module pilot on the Apollo 11 mission, he and mission commander Neil Armstrong were the first two humans to land on the Moon.
Born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, Aldrin graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1951, with a degree in mechanical engineering. He was commissioned into the United States Air Force, and served as a jet fighter pilot during the Korean War. He flew 66 combat missions and shot down two MiG-15 aircraft.
After earning a Sc.D. degree in astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Aldrin was selected as a member of NASA's Astronaut Group 3, making him the first astronaut with a doctoral degree. His doctoral thesis was Line-of-Sight Guidance Techniques for Manned Orbital Rendezvous, earning him the nickname "Dr. Rendezvous" from fellow astronauts. His first space flight was in 1966 on Gemini 12 during which he spent over five hours on extravehicular activity (EVA) outside the spacecraft. Three years later, Aldrin set foot on the Moon at 03:15:16 on July 21, 1969 (UTC), nine minutes after Armstrong first touched the surface, while Command Module Pilot Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit. A Presbyterian elder, Aldrin became the first person to hold a religious ceremony on the Moon when he privately took communion.
Upon leaving NASA in 1971, he became Commandant of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School. He retired from the Air Force in 1972, after 21 years of service. His autobiographies Return to Earth, (1973) and Magnificent Desolation (2009), recount his struggles with clinical depression and alcoholism in the years after leaving NASA. He continued to advocate for space exploration, particularly a manned mission to Mars, and developed the Aldrin cycler, a special spacecraft trajectory that makes travel to Mars possible using less time and propellant. He has been accorded numerous honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969, and is listed in several Halls of Fame, and has plaques on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.