New Jersey native Buzz Aldrin auctioned lunar memorabilia
What a treasure trove for collectors! New Jersey native Buzz Aldrin, one of the first people to walk on the moon, held an auction of all sorts of memorabilia from his time as an astronaut, including items that made the historic voyage with him. The auction was conducted by Sotheby’s.
Some of the items also brought in quite a bit of money. For example, his flown inflight coverall jacket, which he wore on his mission to the moon and back during Apollo 11, fetched $2.7725 million:
Flown to the lunar surface and used there: the broken circuit breaker that nearly took the lives of the Apollo 11 crew and the pin that saved them
Checklist for activating Apollo 11 LM systems on the lunar surface; it sold for $567,000
The Flight Plan Flown – A complete summary of the entire mission, from takeoff to splashdown, sold for $819,000
Aldrin was the lunar module pilot on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, which was the first manned spacecraft to land on the moon. Mission Commander Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon and Aldrin the second.
He was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey in 1930. He attended Montclair High School and upon graduation was called to West Point where he graduated third in his class.
He received his PhD from MIT in astronautics and was selected for NASA’s Astronaut Group 3. He was rejected in his first attempt to become an astronaut but was accepted into the next round of selection. He successfully completed his mission aboard Gemini 12, conducting “extraspace activities.” He was then assigned to the Apollo program.
After his aerospace career, he became commander of the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. He eventually retired as a colonel.
He wrote in his autobiography that he suffered from depression and alcoholism in his post-space life. He used to sell cars in Beverly Hills, but he said he’s a “terrible salesman.” He eventually sobered up and became a public speaker.
In 2002 (aged 72), he famously punched a man who claimed the moon landing was staged. He has traveled to both the North and South Poles but had to be flown from the South Pole when he fell ill during the expedition at the age of 86.
In 2008 he was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
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