This Week in Space! Buzz Aldrin Turns 90
In case you have been living under a rock for the past 50 years, Buzz Aldrin is an American engineer, former astronaut and fighter pilot, but is perhaps best known as the lunar module pilot on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission. He and mission commander Neil Armstrong were the first two humans to land on the moon.
And while Armstrong’s first words on the moon are etched in the world’s collective memories, Aldrin’s are less well-known: “Beautiful view. Magnificent desolation.”
Growing up in the late 1970s and 80s, I was raised in a world where there were already footprints on another celestial body. I can only imagine what it must have been like to watch it unfold live on television, John F. Kennedy’s moonshot realized.
Buzz Aldrin – American Hero
As a member of the U.S. Air Force, Aldrin would shoot down two enemy Mig-15 aircraft in the Korean War. For his service in Korea, he was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and three Air Medals.
Aldrin’s initial application to join the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1962 was rejected because he was not a test pilot. Later, NASA would eliminate the test pilot requirement and replace it with “the requirement that applicants had either test pilot experience or 1,000 hours of flying time in jet aircraft.” By the time Aldrin applied again in 1963 he had over 2,200 hours in jets.
Buzz Aldrin was 39 years old when he traveled to the moon. After leaving NASA in 1971, Aldrin became Commandant of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School.
On January 20, Buzz Aldrin turned 90 years old and, according to his social media posts on Twitter, he was in high spirits:
Today is a special day.
When asked for my birth date, I chuckle and say 1-20-30.
Now, after circling the sun for 90 years, today is 1-2020. I came into this world in NJ on 1-20-30, and my mother was Marion Moon Aldrin and my father Edwin Aldrin.
Here’s to 1-2025!
— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) January 20, 2020
You can send Buzz Aldrin a personalized birthday message that he will read at the Road to Apollo XI 50th Anniversary website.
On behalf of InSpaceNews, Happy Birthday Buzz!
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