Buzz Aldrin: who is NASA Apollo 11 astronaut, what is his net worth - how much did his moon jacket sell for?

Alongside Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin created history as one of the first humans to set foot on the moon

Almost exactly 53 years ago, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins all created history as the first humans to stage a successful moon-landing mission.

The NASA Apollo 11 mission landed on earth’s closest-orbiting space rock on 20 July 1969.

Now, the last surviving member of the crew - Buzz Aldrin - has auctioned off some of the equipment he used during the effort at Sotheby’s in New York.

But how much did his memorabilia fetch?

Here’s what you need to know.

Buzz Aldrin pictured in his famous space jacket (image: AFP/Getty Images)

Who is Buzz Aldrin?

Buzz Aldrin was the second man to walk on the moon after Neil Armstrong.

According to his website, he was born in New Jersey in 1930.

His mother - who, in a remarkable foreshadowing of her son’s career - Marion Moon was the daughter of an army chaplain, while his father Edwin Eugene Aldrin was an aviation pioneer.

A qualified mechanical engineer, Aldrin served in the US air force during the Korean War, before going on to earn a doctorate in astronautics - specialising in docking and rendezvous manoeuvres in space.

In 1963, several months after President John F Kennedy’s ‘we choose to go to the moon’ speech, Aldrin was enrolled in the NASA astronaut program.

Buzz Aldrin pictured next to the US flag the Apollo 11 mission planted on the moon (image: Getty Images)

Three years later, in 1966, he took part in the Gemini 12 orbital mission during which he performed the world’s first-ever space walk.

And in 1969, he took part in the most famous space mission of all - Apollo 11’s moon landings.

As if walking on the moon wasn’t enough, Aldrin saved the mission from disaster when he fixed a broken circuit breaker that was needed to arm the engine of the module that had taken him and Armstrong to the lunar surface.

Famously, he jammed a pen into the controls and the engine was able to start.

After returning to earth, Aldrin continued to work for Nasa for several years, before retiring and becoming a public speaker and space exploration advocate.

How much did Buzz Aldrin’s jacket sell for?

Buzz Aldrin sold 69 items of space memorabilia from his personal collection at Sotheby’s in New York on Tuesday (26 July).

He was allowed to keep hold of the items as a result of a ruling from Congress in 2012.

No reason has been given for why the 92-year-old sold his belongings.

The collection he auctioned included:

  • Mission flight plans from Apollo 11
  • The broken circuit breaker that nearly stranded Aldrin and Armstrong on the moon, as well as the pen he used to save them
  • Flags Aldrin took into space with him
  • Accolades and medals he received upon his return from space
  • Lifetime passes to Major League Baseball.

The only time he took the jacket off was when he changed into a pressure suit to leave the aircraft and walk on the moon.

Made from fire-resistant material teflon-coated Beta cloth, it carries Aldrin’s name tag and the Apollo 11 mission’s emblem - an eagle standing on the moon.

Buzz Aldrin is now a keen space advocate (image: Getty Images)

The jacket is the only item of clothing used during the mission that has been sold.

It sold for $2.8 million (£2.3 million) to an anonymous phone bidder.

Overall, the collection generated $8.2 million (£6.8 million).

Aside from the jacket, the other big sellers included a mission plan summary that went into space with the crew - sold for $819,000 (£680,000) - and a mission checklist - sold for $567,000 (£469,000).

The amount the pen and circuit-breaker switch sold for has not been disclosed, but is likely to have gone for a similar amount as the jacket given it was valued at between $1 million to $2 million (£830,000 to £1.6 million).

What is Buzz Aldrin’s net worth?

Buzz Aldrin’s net worth is widely reported to be $12 million (£9.9 million).

If the proceeds from his memorabilia auction are going towards this fortune, he may have almost doubled it to $20 million (£16.5 million).