Buzz & Collins: A Tribute

Aldrin and Collins were the two other heroes alongside Neil Armstrong who were a part of the historic mission to Moon

Buzz Aldrin

Fay-Ann and Eugene Aldrin were only two kids of Edwin Eugene Aldrin (SR). Fay was one and a half years younger than Eugene and could hardly able to pronounce his name or to say him ‘brother’. Instead, she used to recall him as the buzzer. The family would fall in love with and “Buzz” went well as Eugene’s nickname.  Later on, he made it as his legal first name in 1988.

Buzz Aldrin in his Apollo 11 astronaut suit

Buzz Aldrin, the first child of Marion Moon & Edwin Eugene Aldrinwho was a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. In 1947, Buzz completed his early education from Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey, and moved to West Point Military Academy in New York. He was a well-disciplined cadet and got first in his class of freshman year. He graduated in mechanical engineering with a bronze medal. 

Soon after, Buzz’s father realized that his son should continue multiengine flight school so that he could take charge of his own flight crew later, but Buzz wanted to kick off his career as a fighter pilot. Eugene (SR) granted him permission and after a summer of hitching around in Europe on military planes, Buzz joined the United States Air Force in 1951. Buzz again scored near the top of his class in flight school and reckoned fighter training later in the same year.

As a fighter pilot, he has privileged to fly 66 missions during the Korean War and shot down a couple of MiG-15 Jet aircraft. Later he served in West Germany, a consolidated zoned area by the US, Great Britain, and France at the end of World-War-II. In 1963, his professional career got a twist when he was selected as an astronaut while he was submitting his Ph.D. thesis written on “a dissertation on orbital mechanics” in Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

L to R: Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong

After finishing up with his astronaut’s training Buzz went onboard on Gemini12 with James A. Lovell on a four-day long flight. He had a total of three spacewalks with an overall duration of 5 hours and 30 min, these contributed in a conclusion that human can survive and function effectively in the vacuum-like space. He has privileged to accompanied Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins in the historic Apollo 11 flight to the moon, launched on 16th July 1969 and touched the moon surface four days later on 20th July. Buzz followed Armstrong and together they walked around two hours, collected rock samples and captured photographs.

Besides a stunning professional career, Buzz’s personal life stayed reckless and he got married thrice. His first marriage was with Joan Archer and they had three children, James, Janice, and Andrew, ended up on divorce in 1974. His second marriage was with Beverly Van Zile and third with Lois Driggs Cannon, whom he divorced in 2012 and since then he has been living alone with his pets in Satellite Beach, Florida. 

Aldrin with his family

As a consequence of his failed marriages, in 2018, a legal conflict arose between Aldrin and his children Andrew and Janice and former business manager Christina Korp over their claims that he was mentally impaired with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. His children declared that he made new friends and they were segregating him from his family and encouraging him to spend his savings at a high rate. They tried to become legal guardians in order to manage his finances. In June, Aldrin filed a case against the saint, Janice, Korp, businesses manager, and the foundations run by his family. The case was under processing but his children withdrew by their own in March 2019,

Beside his overwhelming passion in astronautics, Buzz has a keen interest in politics and he is a vital supporter of the Republican Party and stayed the main fundraiser for its members of Congress. In 2004, he appeared at a rally for George W. Bush and he campaigned for Nick Lampson in Texas in 2006. As a consequence of his growing coordination in political activities, in 2008, Paul Rancatore got his help him in fundraising for his election campaign from Florida. In 2019, he invited as a guest of President Donald Trump in State of the Union Address.  

Michael Collins

James Lawton Collins and Virginia Stewart Collins had four children, two sons, and two daughters. Michael Collins was the youngest and second son of James Collin, who was a U. S Army officer. Michael lived in various places just at the age of 17 years, because the U.S army posted his father in different locations. Later, they settled in Washington where Michael started his schooling at St. Albans School and college at the United States Military Academy. Collins graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science from the same college in WestPoint in 1952. 

Micheal Collins in his Apollo 11 astronaut suit

After getting graduate, he joined the U. S Air Force to become a pilot and kicked off early flight training in Texas. Because of his extraordinary performance, he got a position in the advanced day fighter training team at Nellis Air Base and then became the part of 21st Fighter Bomber Wing at the George Air Force Base, where he learned how to fire nuclear weapons. 

In 1962, Mercury-Atlas 6 flight of John Glenn was the true inspiration to Collins to achieve as NASA astronaut. In the same year, he submitted his first application for the second group of astronauts, unfortunately, he was rejected. He got disappointed but didn’t lose hope and in 1963, he gave a try to USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School to research space and again applied for the part of the third group of astronauts, this time his luck accompanied him and he got selected.

Meanwhile, in training, he learned about the extravehicular activity (EVA) and about spacesuits used during spacewalks. Collins made two spacewalks in two different missions. His first spacewalk was in Gemini 10 mission and the second spacewalk was in Apollo 11 mission. 

Michael Collins in the module simulator

In 1966, he got selected in the Gemini 10 mission crew along with John Young as a Mission Commander. Their three-day mission was crucial for rendezvous with two Agena vehicles, two EVAs and to perform 15 different experiments. They completed all their tasks up to the level but docking and landmark measurement were not completed in order to conserve propellant and they also lost their micrometeorite. 

Soon, after Gemini mission, Collins started his training for Apollo 8 mission and was selected in the crew for Apollo 8 mission, however, due to his medical unfitness he didn’t continue this mission. Later got the task of Capcom (Capsule Communicator) in the same mission.

In 1969, in Apollo 11 mission, along with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, Michael got selected as a Command Module Pilot, his job was to maintain the orbiter and to photograph the moon. The total duration of the Apollo 11 mission was eight days, three hours, 18 minutes, and thirty-five seconds and they successfully landed in the Pacific Ocean. After setting a historic milestone Collins along with Neil and Aldrin got received several prestigious awards and honored with Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Collins with his family

In the same year, Collins assigned as Assistant Secretary of State for public affairs and in 1971, he joined as the Director of the National Air and Space Museum. Collins has the privileged to serve as a vice president in LTV Aerospace which he ended up in 1985 and started his own consulting firm, Michael Collins associates.

Besides a stunning professional carrier, he has a happy personal life. He married Patricia Finnegan in 1957 and they have three children, Kate Collins, Michael Collins Jr., Ann Collins. His eldest daughter Kate Collins is an actor and have two children.

Collin wrote a couple of books and autobiographies including Carrying the fire, basically based on his space journey and Liftoff, the Mission to Mars and Flying to the Moon and other Strange Places. Later on, this book revised and re-released as Flying to the Moon: An Astronaut’s Story.

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