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Buzz Aldrin Fast Facts

By CNN Library
updated 11:27 AM EST, Fri January 31, 2014

(CNN) -- Here's a look at the life of the astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

Personal:
Birth date: January 20, 1930

Birth place: Montclair, New Jersey

Birth name: Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr.

Father: Edwin Sr., an aviation pioneer and oil executive

Mother: Marion (Moon) Aldrin

Marriages: Lois Driggs Cannon (February 14, 1988-December 28, 2012, divorced); Beverly Van Zile (December 31, 1975-date unknown publicly, divorced); Joan A. (Archer) Aldrin (December 29, 1954-1972, divorced)

Children: with Joan A. (Archer) Aldrin: James Michael, Janice Ross, Andrew John

Education: U.S. Military Academy at West Point, B.S., 1951; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Astronautics Sc.D., 1963

Military service: U.S. Air Force (1951-1972), Colonel

Other Facts:
The nickname "Buzz" came from the way his sister said the word buzzer instead of brother.

As a fighter pilot in the Korean War, he completed 66 F-86 combat missions, destroyed two MIG's, damaged another, and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross.

His doctoral dissertation at M.I.T. dealt with the piloting and rendezvous of two spacecraft in orbit. Aldrin's techniques have been used on many NASA missions.

He logged 289 hours and 53 minutes in space between the Gemini and Apollo programs.

Timeline:
1951 - Graduates third in his class at West Point, out of 475.

October 17, 1963 - Is part of the third group of men selected by NASA to be astronauts.

November 11, 1966 - Is launched into space as the pilot of Gemini 12. Aldrin sets a new Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) record of 5 ½ hours. The flight lasts almost four days.

July 16-July 24, 1969 - Lunar Module Pilot of the Apollo 11 mission and second person on the moon. The three-man crew consists of Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins.

July 20, 1969 - After landing near the Sea of Tranquility, Armstrong and Aldrin spend about two hours on the surface. Aldrin then pilots the Lunar Module back to the Command Module orbiting above.

1969 - Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Richard Nixon.

1971 - Retires from NASA.

1971-1972 - Commandant of the Aerospace Research Pilots School, Edwards Air Force Base, California.

1971 - Is hospitalized in San Antonio, Texas, for depression and alcoholism.

March 1972 - Retires from the Air Force as a colonel.

1988 - Legally changes his name to Buzz Aldrin.

1993 - Patents his design for a permanent space station.

March 19, 1993 - Is inducted into the Astronauts Hall of Fame.

1994 - Appears as himself on "The Simpsons."

1996 - Founds the rocket design company, Starcraft Boosters, Inc.

1998 - Founds ShareSpace, a nonprofit company designed to help fund and promote mass-market space travel.

2002 - President George W. Bush appoints Aldrin to the Presidential Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry.

September 9, 2002 - Punches journalist Bart Sibrel after he demands that Aldrin prove he had actually been to the moon.

July 21, 2004 - Attends a White House ceremony with Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins marking the 35th anniversary of Apollo 11.

December 15, 2006 - Makes a cameo appearance on the television show "Numb3rs."

March 20, 2007 - Aldrin opens the Skywalk, a glass bottomed observation deck over the Grand Canyon, that extends 70 feet from the canyon wall.

September 7, 2007 - "In the Shadow of the Moon," the documentary of the story of the Apollo 11 mission opens in theaters.

June 2009 - Autobiography "Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon" is released.

August 19, 2009 - NASA receives the Philo T. Farnsworth Award, an Emmy given to NASA for, "...engineering excellence and technological innovations that made possible the first live TV broadcast from the moon by the Apollo 11..." Aldrin accepts on behalf of NASA.

March - April 2010 - Competes on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." Aldrin is voted off the show on April 6, 2010.

June 15, 2011 - Files for divorce from wife, Lois.

November 16, 2011 - Receives the Congressional Gold Medal for Distinguished Astronauts along with Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and John Glenn.

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