Reaching For The Moon
Click Magazine for Kids|July/August 2017

The name my parents gave me was Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr., but the name my sister gave me was the one that would stay with me all my life. She could not manage to say brother, only “Buzzer.” Later that got shortened to “Buzz,” and no one ever called me anything else.

Buzz Aldrin

What I wanted to do more than anything was fly. So, after going to college at West Point, the United States Military Academy, I joined the Air Force. I learned to fly fighter jets, fast and quick in the sky.

I loved going as fast as a human being could go, and I learned to pilot planes that flew faster than the speed of sound.

But there were men flying faster than that— America’s first seven astronauts. The astronauts seemed like supermen to me. I couldn’t imagine myself exploring outer space. But when my college friend Ed White told me his plan to apply to the space program, I realized that the astronauts were pilots just like Ed— and me.

I went back to university and studied aeronautics and astronautics. But the first time I applied to the astronaut program, I wasn’t accepted. I didn’t give up. I applied a second time, and I got in. I was already a pilot and a scientist. Now I was an astronaut as well.

My first spaceflight was on board Gemini 12. Once the spacecraft was in orbit, I put on my spacesuit, opened the hatch, and drifted out into space. Only a thin cord connected me to Gemini as we circled Earth. It took us less than two hours to go all the way around the world. But the speed didn’t seem real to me. I felt as if I were gently floating while Earth spun beneath me.

After Gemini 12, there was a new mission—Apollo. The goal of Apollo was to put humans on the moon.

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