The pilot of the Apollo 11 lunar lander Eagle, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin was one of the three Apollo 11 astronauts and the second person to set foot on the Moon.
One of the most reproduced NASA images, this photograph of an Apollo 11 astronaut on the Moon shows Buzz Aldrin. Neil Armstrong served as photographer—he can be seen reflected in Aldrin’s visor. Aldrin recalled Armstrong saying, “Stop and turn.” In this spontaneous picture, Aldrin’s arm is raised, perhaps to read the checklist sewn onto his left glove.
The image of Aldrin as Moonman became an iconic symbol of American accomplishment and was reproduced in books, films, television, and items of popular culture.
What was it like to be in the command module as the Apollo 11 mission blasted into space? To be one of the first humans to walk on the moon?
Buzz Aldrin, together with Michael Collins, shares his memories of making history.
Aldrin and Apollo 11 in the Collection
Originally, Aldrin was rejected from NASA because he was not a test pilot. However, the following year, applicants with over 1,000 hours of jet aircraft flying time were eligible, and with more than twice that time the former jet fighter pilot was more than qualified.
Aldrin was selected to join NASA's third group of astronauts in October 1963, after completing this graduate degree at MIT. He was the first astronaut with a doctoral degree.
In January 1963, six and a half years before the first Moon landing, Aldrin earned a degree of Doctor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), for his 311-page thesis “Line-of-Sight Guidance Techniques for Manned Orbital Rendezvous.” At the time he was a Major in the U.S. Air Force and had yet to be selected as an astronaut.
Apollo 11 was not Buzz Aldrin's first spaceflight. He previously traveled to space as part of Gemini XII, when Aldrin performed three EVAs (extravehicular activity, activity outside the spacecraft) including spending over five hours on a spacewalk.