Dr. Rendezvous

Edwin Aldrin earned his PhD from MIT in 1963 with a thesis titled, “Line-of-sight guidance techniques for manned orbital rendezvous”. Just three years later in 1966, Aldrin was the pilot of Gemini XII, the last flight of the Gemini program, a critical precursor to the Apollo moon program. Aldrin and his commander James Lovell were attempting to rendezvous and dock with an Agena target vehicle when their onboard radar failed. Aldrin used a handheld sextant to repeatedly measure the angles between Gemini XII and the Agena ahead and above them to help Lovell successfully complete the rendezvous and docking.

Aldrin would join Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins on the historic flight of Apollo 11 in 1969 — and later formally change his first name from “Edwin” to his other nickname “Buzz”.

When Gemini XII's radar failed, the man who wrote the book on rendezvous was onboard to help

When Gemini XII’s radar failed, the man who wrote the book on spacecraft rendezvous was onboard to help

About John F. Lindner

John F. Lindner was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and educated at the University of Vermont and Caltech. He is an emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at The College of Wooster and a visiting professor at North Carolina State University. He has enjoyed multiple yearlong sabbaticals at Georgia Tech, University of Portland, University of Hawai'i, and NCSU. His research interests include nonlinear dynamics, celestial mechanics, and neural networks.
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