Biography of American Astronauts: Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin

About the United States astronaut Edwin Buzz Aldrin, history of the NASA space program and biography of the man.

An Earthy Look at the American Astronauts

Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin. Probably no astronaut suffered worse aftereffects of his space flight than Edwin Aldrin, Jr., copilot on the 1st lunar landing mission. Aldrin found himself incapable of coping with the pressures of playing the hero's role in an endless stream of public appearances. He was soon on his way to having what he calls "a good old-fashioned American nervous breakdown."

Aldrin, who authored the book Return to Earth, had a long battle with mental depression, and eventually he received psychiatric treatment in both an Air Force and a civilian hospital.

When he and his fellow astronauts were on their postflight goodwill tours, he recalls that they were traveling with temptation because "we always took along our personal biological longings but not necessarily our wives . . . . For an astronaut, the opportunities for companionship were always available, and I guess temptation grew in proportion to supply. Some of us resisted those temptations; many resisted, then gave in. I fit the latter category."

Aldrin engaged in several extramarital affairs, and his marriage almost collapsed. Now he and his wife are reconciled and live in Hidden Hills, near Los Angles, where he has retired from the Air Force to run a small consulting firm.

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