Timeline

Buzz's journey through time and space

Timeline

Youth

January 20, 1930

Buzz is born in Montclair, New Jersey to Edwin Aldrin and Marion Moon.

As an aviation pioneer, Buzz’ father studied physics with Robert Goddard, and enjoyed professional associations with Charles Lindberg, Jimmy Doolittle, Amelia Earhart, and Howard Hughes.

In high school, football was Buzz’ passion and homework his nemesis. Finally his father intervened and he gave up football for academics.

Buzz took his first flight at the age of two, in a Lockheed Vega, painted like an eagle and piloted by his father.

1950’s

Buzz graduates from West Point Military Academy, third in his class..

…and goes on to become a USAF fighter pilot.

During the Korean conflict, Buzz flies Sabre Jets in 66 combat missions and successfully shoots down two MIG-15’s.

After the Korean War

Following the war, Buzz serves a three-year Air Force assignment in Bitburg, Germany flying F-100’s in the 22nd Squadron.

Returning to his education, Buzz enrolls at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and just over three years later earns a Doctorate in Astronautics.

His development of Manned Space Rendezvous techniques are subsequently used on all NASA missions, including the first docking with the Russian comonauts.

1960’s

Buzz is selected by NASA to the third group of astronauts. His orbital space rendezvous earns him the nickname Dr. Rendezvous.

1963

Buzz, an avid scuba diver from his youth, was the first astronaut to initiate and experience being outfitted in scuba gear to train for weightlessness of spacewalks.

November 12, 1966

In November of 1966, he establishes a new record for extra-vehicular activity (EVA) in space during the Gemini 12 orbital flight mission.

Buzz has logged 4,500 hours of flying time, 290 of which were in space, including 8 hours of EVA.

Buzz and Jim’s successful return concludes the Gemini program and sets the foundation for Apollo.

Buzz is selected as backup Command Module pilot (along with backup crew mates Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins) for Apollo 8, man’s first flight around the moon.

July 20, 1969, as part of the Apollo 11 mission, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to set foot on the moon.

This unprecedented endeavor is witnessed by the largest television audience in history.

Left behind on the moon, a plaque reads: “We came in peace for all mankind.”

Upon returning from the moon, Buzz embarks on an international good will tour.

He is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor amongst over 50 other distinguished medals from the United States and numerous other countries.

1970’s

1973

Buzz publishes a personal account of his life, highlighting the difficult midlife transition that followed his historic mission to the moon.

One effect of this difficult transition was his struggle with and recovery from alcoholism. Today he lends active support to combating substance abuse and is a highly visible example of having enjoyed more than 30 years of sobriety.

After leaving the space program, Buzz serves as a commander of the Air Force Test Pilots School. He subsequently enters the private as a consultant.

1980’s

1989

Marking the 20th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, Buzz publishes Men from Earth, a detailed astonishing account of America’s race with the Soviets to the moon. The book ends with an epilogue “Venturing Outward”, which looks toward future space travel through the year 2009.

1990’s

 

In 1993 Dr. Aldrin received a U.S. patent for his design of a permanent space station.

1996

He founds Starcraft Booster, Inc. and produces innovative design concepts, such as the Starbooster 200.

The reusable liquid flyback rocket booster is Aldrin’s solution to the problem of high priced expendable rockets.

As a long time enthusiast of deep ocean exploration, Buzz becomes a member of the second expedition team to achieve a successful landing on the Titanic. He tours the wreckage aboard a French submersible, The Nautile, and enters the record books as “the man with the most ups and downs” (250,000 miles into space and 2.5 miles to the bed of the Atlantic).

Buzz teams with Hugo and Nebula Award nominee John Barnes to write Encounter with Tiber, a science fiction novel that tells the story of a future space race and it’s mysterious encounter with a lost civilization. 2001 writer Arthur C. Clarke pens the foreword and hails Tiber a classic.

1998

Buzz joins Hugh Downs on an expedition to the North Pole aboard a Russian Ice Breaker.

2000’s

Buzz publishes a second novel, The Return. Set in the near future, the thriller tells of a geo-political crisis that follows a fatal ccident in the privatized space tourism industry. A subsequent nuclear fallout in the upper atmosphere leave Americans stranded on the ISS. With the Shuttle fleet grounded, oly a secret skunkworks project by the novel’s protagonist and his friends can save the stranded crew.

2002

Buzz is appointed by President Bush to serve on the Commission on the future of the United States Aerospace Industry. The task force, comprised of the nation’s leaders in aviation and aerospace, spends the year re-evaluating the issues associated with the U.S. aerospace industry in the global economy.

December 18, 2003

The Columbia tragedy forces the grounding of NASA’s shuttle fleet for 2 1/2 years. To encourage a new road forward, Buzz presented the “Next Century of Flight Space Imperatives” symposium, the day after the Wright Brothers’ First Flight Centennial. Broadcast on C-Span, the panelists discuss lunar colonies, missions to Mars, future spacecraft designs and space tourism.

Buzz is on hand for an early test flight of SpaceShipOne. It becomes the first privately developed craft to fly two successive sub-orbital flights 62 miles up, winning the $10 million dollar Ansari XPrize.

Buzz goes weightless… again on the first zero gravity flights to become commercially available in the US> He somersaults, he floats, he flies with ease. He says, “Anyone who enjoys adventure will enjoy this.”

2005

Buzz releases his first childre’s book Reaching for the Moon illustrated by award-winning artist Wendell Minor. The book debuts at #2 on the New York Times Bestseller’s List for Children’s Picture Books. In its pages Buzz shares his childhood stories and lifelong dream of space travel and encourages each child to reach for their own moon.

NASA celbrates its 50th Anniversary.

In its 50 years, NASA has sent more than 300 astronauts into space on 154 missions. NASA’s space technologies have led to more than 1300 spin-offs in many industries.

2009

Buzz publishes his memoirs with Harmony Books of Random House. Written with Ken Abraham, Buzz shares his challenges and triumphs in his amazing life journey.

Buzz reunites with artist Wendell Minor for his second illustrated book for youth Look to the Stars. From Copernicus to the Wright brothers, from the Apollo program to dreams of future travel, he reminds us that mankind has always looked to the stars.

To reinvigorate public support for America’s space program, Buzz calls for a Lunar Renaissance: A celebration of the 40th Annicersaries of the Apollo moon landings, as well as a challenge to chart our future course.