Apollo 11 Astronaut & Global Statesman for Space

The son of an aviation pioneer, Buzz Aldrin is a graduate of the U.S.Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. During the Korean War, he flew F-86 Sabre Jets for the U.S. Air Force in 66 combat missions where he shot down two MIG-15s, and flew F-100s during a tour of duty in Germany.

Aldrin earned a Doctorate of Science in Astronautics at M.I.T. and wrote his thesis on Manned Orbital Rendezvous. In 1963, he was selected by NASA into a third group of astronauts; he was the first with a doctorate and became known as “Dr. Rendezvous.” The docking and rendezvous techniques he devised for spacecraft on Earth and for lunar orbit became critical to the success of the Gemini and Apollo programs and are still used today.

He pioneered underwater training techniques to simulate spacewalking and in 1966, Aldrin performed the world’s first successful spacewalk on the Gemini 12 orbital mission. He set a new extravehicular activity (EVA) record of 5 1/2 hours (and also took the first ‘selfie’ in space).

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first two humans to set foot on another world. An estimated 600 million people, the world’s largest television audience in history at the time, witnessed this unprecedented heroic endeavor.

Buzz Aldrin is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Lifetime Space Achievement Award, the Smithsonian Institution’s Langley Gold Medal, the Air Force Master Astronaut badge, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with cluster, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

He is the author of nine books and in 2015, launched the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at Florida Tech, to promote and develop his vision of a permanent human settlement on Mars. Since retiring from NASA and the U.S. Air Force, Buzz Aldrin has become a Global Statesman for Space and remains a tireless advocate for human space exploration.



“There are plans right now underway, for NASA or any company, to occupy Mars. People are talking about Mars. And I can assure you that the lessons learned and the training of the people who will be among the first humans on Mars will be done in lunar orbit and on the lunar surface to accustom them to what they will make a commitment to do for the rest of their lives on Mars.

“If there’s any question about that, just look at the cost of going to Mars and bringing people back, whether that’s the first time, the second time, or the third time. These are long tours of duty, they’ll never go back again. As a crewmen, they’ll commit themselves to all this training then they’re going to travel to the Moon and come back. Then a little later on, possibly the same group or others, will become the pilgrims representing their nation for all eternity on a trip to Mars.

“I think our nation, the United States, should represent humanity and the world because America can bring people and all other nations together, in a benevolent and safe way, and then expand this collaboration through an alliance.”