Do You Know Who's the Second Person to Set Foot on the Moon?

Who Was the Second Person to Set Foot on the Moon
History was created on July 21, 1969, when man set foot on the Moon for the very first time. While everybody knows that Neil Armstrong was the first of the two American astronauts to pull off this feat on that mission, not many know who the second person was.
Apollo 11 was NASA's first manned mission to land on the surface of the Moon. It was launched on July 16, 1969, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The three NASA astronauts on board the spaceship for Apollo 11 Mission were Neil Armstrong (Mission Commander), Michael Collins (Command Module Pilot), and Edwin Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr. (Lunar Module Pilot). Apollo 11's lunar landing was accomplished on July 20, 1969, in lunar module Eagle. On July 21, 1969, Armstrong descended from the Lunar Module (LM) onto the surface of the Moon, thus becoming the first human to set foot on the Moon.

The Second Person to Step on the Moon

Armstrong was followed by the Lunar Module Pilot, Edwin Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, who thus became the second person to set foot on the Moon. While Armstrong became a celebrity after this historical event, even today only a few people know Buzz Aldrin. (It was only in 1988 that Aldrin legalized the nickname 'Buzz' to make it his first name, thus becoming popular as Buzz Aldrin.)

Early Life and Military Career
Edwin Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin Jr. was a US Air Force Pilot and NASA astronaut who accompanied Armstrong on the Apollo 11 spaceflight. Aldrin was born on January 20, 1930, in New Jersey, United States. He completed his graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Previously, he had turned down a full scholarship offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to pursue a career in army. After graduation, Aldrin joined the United States Air Force as a second lieutenant and eventually became a Colonel.

Career in NASA
On October 17, 1963, Aldrin was selected as a part of the 1963 NASA Group. He was promoted to back-up crew on Gemini 9, after the death of Elliot See and Charles Bassett. Eventually, Aldrin was selected as a pilot for Gemini 12, the last Gemini Mission, wherein he set a record for EVA (extra-vehicular activity). The biggest moment of Aldrin's life though, came in late 1960s when he was chosen as the Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 11. In this mission, Aldrin and Armstrong descended on the Moon in the Lunar Module, while Michael Collins orbited above. Throughout the descent Aldrin called out the navigation data to Armstrong.

Some NASA accounts state that Buzz Aldrin was supposed to be the first person to set foot on the Moon, but owing to the physical positioning inside the module, Neil Armstrong stepped out first, thus becoming the first person to set foot on the Moon. According to another account, Aldrin was supposed to achieve this feat, but in a meeting between the senior NASA personnel in 1969, it was decided that Armstrong would be the first person to take the 'leap'. In his NASA career, Aldrin also invented a special spacecraft trajectory known as the Aldrin cycler in 1985.

Life After Retirement
After retirement from NASA in 1972, Aldrin returned to the United States Air Force, but in a managerial role. Even after his retirement from NASA, he continued to promote space exploration. In 1988, he married Lois Driggs Cannon, who was his third wife after Joan Archer and Beverly Zile. He has two autobiographies to his credit: Return To Earth (1973) and Magnificent Desolation (2009).

Aldrin had his share of good times as well as bad times. He received several honors in his life ranging from military decorations, such as the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit, and NASA decorations, such as the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. Many honors came his way and will continue to come, but the biggest honor for this gentleman would be when people will recognize him as Buzz Aldrin―the famous astronaut who became the second person to walk on the Moon.
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