Young Reporters Valerie and Erin with Buzz Aldrin.
Share this story on Twitter.

Originally printed in June 1996

by Valarie Potell & Erin Machac

Desert Valley Elementary

Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, recently met with Arizona schoolchildren at Phoenix Symphony Hall. His presentation was sponsored by the Arizona Science Center. Aldrin, who inspired the character Buzz Lightyear in the movie “Toy Story,” began an interest in space at age 3. His mother’s maiden name, Moon, also encouraged him.

Aldrin graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at age 21. One year later, he completed pilot training and flew 66 combat missions in Korea, shooting down two enemy aircraft. In 1963, at age 33, he received his doctorate degree in astronautics.

In 1966, Aldrin flew the Gemini 12 spaceflight with Jim Lovell. During his flight, he conducted a spacewalk for 5 ½ hours!

Three years later, he was on an expedition with Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins on the Apollo 11 moon mission. Aldrin said of walking on the moon, “it was radical!” He said he wished he had a room in his house where he could just go in and float around.

To train for the moon mission, he mostly had to train in what to do if something went wrong. When asked if he was envious of Neil Armstrong for being the first man on the moon, Aldrin replied, “somebody has to go first.” He explained that it would be awkward if the commander did not go first and said that the decision was made months before the mission blasted off.

In more recent times, Aldrin has been in charge of a space program for children. He is also the co-director of an upcoming TV series called “The Cape.” As you can see, Aldrin has accomplished much in his life.

Adviser: Cheryl Machac

July 2019