EXCLUSIVE: SA company asks for mission to rescue moon landing hero Buzz Aldrin

01 December 2016 - 16:22 By Andre Jurgens

A South African company specialising in trips to the earth’s coldest and most remote continent has requested an emergency medical evacuation flight to Antarctica to rescue one of its clients, Buzz Aldrin – one of the first two humans to walk on the moon.

The mercy mission was confirmed on Thursday by the National Science Foundation (NSF)‚ which manages the US Antarctic Program.

“The National Science Foundation has agreed to provide a humanitarian medical evacuation flight for an ailing visitor from its Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to McMurdo Station on the Antarctic coast and then to New Zealand‚” the organisation said in a statement.

“The patient is Buzz Aldrin‚ who‚ in 1969‚ became one of the first men to walk on the Moon‚ as part of the two-man lunar landing crew of Apollo 11.

“The request to NSF‚ which manages the US Antarctic Program‚ came on December 1 (local time‚ US stations in Antarctica keep New Zealand time) from The Antarctic Company‚ a private tourism firm based in South Africa‚” it said.

The air bridge between the South Pole and McMurdo will be done using a ski-equipped LC-130 cargo plane‚ flown by the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard.

“The flight to New Zealand will be scheduled as soon as possible. NSF will make additional statements about the patient’s medical condition only as conditions warrant‚” said the statement.

Dr Vasily Kaliazin‚ a director of The Antarctic Company, told TMG Digital that Aldrin was a client who had travelled to the South Pole but he was unaware of the rescue operation.

The NSF is a US federal agency whose mission includes support for all fields of science and engineering‚ “tasked with keeping the United States at the leading edge of discovery in areas from astronomy to geology to zoology”.

Highlights from Buzz Aldrin's life


Aldrin is primarily known for the moon landing:

Video posted to YouTube by NASA2007.

However this is not all there is to be known about him. Here are five more things you should know about the second man to walk on the moon.

He was a fighter pilot

Video posted to YouTube by Buzz Aldrin's Feed.

Before he joined Nasa, Aldrin flew 66 combat missions in F86s during the Korean war. During his time there he shot down two MIG 15s. Following his service in Korea, he became a gunnery instructor in Nevada, and then flow F100s as a flight commander in Blitburgm Germany.

He took the first selfie in space:

Buzz Aldrin may not have been the first man to take a stroll on the moon, but he has a few other firsts to his name. He was Nasa's first astronaut with a doctorate, the first man to perform a successful space walk, and the first man to take a selfie in space.

 He was “Dr. Rendezvous”

Buzz Aldrin devised docking and rendezvous techniques for spacecraft in orbit, techniques that were critical to the success of the Gemini and Apollo programmes. These techniques are still in use to this day.

He also pioneered the underwater training techniques Nasa uses to simulate spacewalking.

Video posted to YouTube by Jeff Quitney.

He supports a mission to mars

Aldrin is a firm supporter of a manned mission to mars, feeling that the red planet offers a future in which humanity becomes a two-planet species.

Video posted to YouTube by National Geographic.

In 1985 he developed the Mars Cycler - a special trajectory that allows spacecraft to get to mars using a lot less propellant. He is still working on this with engineers at Purdue University.

In 2015 hem in association with the Florida Institute of Technology, presented a 'master plan' for colonising Mars by 2040. This would involve astronauts doing ten-year tours of duty on the red planet.

– TMG Digital, additional reporting by Bruce Gorton