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Digital Subscriptions > Ad Astra > 2019 - 2 > THE REAL


To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, National Space Society President and “Ad Astra” columnist, Geoffrey Notkin, sat down with his childhood hero, Apollo 11’s Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin, for an exclusive NSS interview about spaceflight past, present, and future.
Buzz Aldrin crew photo.
Credit: NASA


Credit: Michael Kirk

I sat beside Colonel Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr.–known to the entire world as “Buzz”–at a large, round, elegant banquet table in the grand ballroom of the downtown Hyatt. Just the two of us.

Our places were beautifully and meticulously set for the upcoming dinner. Aldrin would present the evening speech. I gave the address the previous evening and Aldrin had been seated right in front of me.No pressure there.Now, the tables surrounding us had no occupants; their perfectly-aligned geometry reminding me of launch pads along the seaward side of Cape Canaveral. All sites perfectly prepared and awaiting the upcoming launch. Or dinner.

The ballroom lights were low and the big room nearly silent. Just the occasional soft clink as a server fine-tuned the alignment of a wine glass or a dessert spoon. As a career performing artist, I have always been fascinated by the hush, the lull, the expectant silence that exists before the show. We, the performers, are like fairies, tiptoeing quietly and respectfully, lest some misstep should accidentally jinx the upcoming performance.

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Apollo 11 50th anniversary Special Edition