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updated 1/20/2013 9:38:54 PM ET 2013-01-21T02:38:54

Famed space man Buzz Aldrin, the second person ever to walk on the moon, celebrated his 83rd birthday in cosmic style on Sunday.

Aldrin, who along with Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong boldly walked where no one had before in 1969, marked his birthday on the road with a trip to England.

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"I'm heading home today if the UK weather allows," Aldrin wrote in a post on Twitter, where he writes as @TheRealBuzz, on Sunday.

This month, Aldrin helped launch the AXE Space Academy, a private spaceflight competition that aims to launch 22 people on suborbital spaceflights as part a deal with the space tourism company Space Expedition Curacao and XCOR Aerospace, which is building the Lynx space plane  to be used on the flights.

"Space travel for everyone is the next frontier in the human experience," Aldrin said during the project's launch this month.

But Buzz Aldrin is likely most well-known for his role on NASA's Apollo 11 mission, which made the first manned moon landing on July 20, 1969, when and Armstrong landed on the moon and performed the first moonwalk. Aldrin served as lunar module pilot for the Apollo 11 mission, with Armstrong commanded the mission. Astronaut Michael Collins, meanwhile, served as command module pilot and remained in orbit around the moon during the landing. Armstrong died at age 82 last year.

Aldrin is a retired colonel in the U.S. Air Force and flew combat missions in Korea before joining NASA's astronaut corps in 1963 as one of the space agency's third group of astronauts. He was born Edwin Aldrin ("Buzz" was originally a nickname) in Montclair, N.J., and earned a Ph.D. in astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

[ Photos of Buzz Aldrin at NASA ]

Aldrin's fist space mission, Gemini 12, launched on Nov. 11, 1966, sending him and astronaut James Lovell on a four-day mission to test spacewalk methods, among other goals. It was the final mission of NASA's Gemini program, allowing the space agency to proceed with the Apollo missions that ultimately sent Aldrin to the moon.

Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins launched their Apollo 11 mission on July 16, 1969. Aldrin and Armstrong spent two hours and 15 minutes walking on the lunar surface during their time on the moon. The Apollo 11 crew returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. Five more successful moon landing missions would follow.

Aldrin left NASA in 1971 and retired from the Air Force a year later. Altogether, he logged 289 hours and 53 minutes in space.

Since then, Aldrin has used his moonwalker fame to lobby for continued space exploration, specifically a return to the moon and missions to Mars. He has written several books, including two autobiographies, and made several notable television appearances, with stints on "Dancing with the Stars," "Top Chef," "The Colbert Report" and "Big Bang Theory."

Earlier this year, Aldrin settled his divorce from his wife Lois Driggs Cannon after 23 years of marriage, citing "irreconcilable differences."

You can follow SPACE.com Managing Editor Tariq Malik on Twitter@tariqjmalik. Follow SPACE.com for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter@Spacedotcomand onFacebook.

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Photos: Month in Space: January 2014

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  1. Southern stargazing

    Stars, galaxies and nebulas dot the skies over the European Southern Observatory's La Silla Paranal Observatory in Chile, in a picture released on Jan. 7. This image also shows three of the four movable units that feed light into the Very Large Telescope Interferometer, the world's most advanced optical instrument. Combining to form one larger telescope, they are greater than the sum of their parts: They reveal details that would otherwise be visible only through a telescope as large as the distance between them. (Y. Beletsky / ESO) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A balloon's view

    Cameras captured the Grandville High School RoboDawgs' balloon floating through Earth's upper atmosphere during its ascent on Dec. 28, 2013. The Grandville RoboDawgs’ first winter balloon launch reached an estimated altitude of 130,000 feet, or about 25 miles, according to coaches Mike Evele and Doug Hepfer. It skyrocketed past the team’s previous 100,000-feet record set in June. The RoboDawgs started with just one robotics team in 1998, but they've grown to support more than 30 teams at public schools in Grandville, Mich. (Kyle Moroney / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Spacemen at work

    Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov, right, and Sergey Ryazanskiy perform maintenance on the International Space Station on Jan. 27. During the six-hour, eight-minute spacewalk, Kotov and Ryazanskiy completed the installation of a pair of high-fidelity cameras that experienced connectivity issues during a Dec. 27 spacewalk. The cosmonauts also retrieved scientific gear outside the station's Russian segment. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Special delivery

    The International Space Station's Canadian-built robotic arm moves toward Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Cygnus autonomous cargo craft as it approaches the station for a Jan. 12 delivery. The mountains below are the southwestern Alps. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Accidental art

    A piece of art? A time-lapse photo? A flickering light show? At first glance, this image looks nothing like the images we're used to seeing from the Hubble Space Telescope. But it's a genuine Hubble frame that was released on Jan. 27. Hubble's team suspects that the telescope's Fine Guidance System locked onto a bad guide star, potentially a double star or binary. This caused an error in the tracking system, resulting in a remarkable picture of brightly colored stellar streaks. The prominent red streaks are from stars in the globular cluster NGC 288. (NASA / ESA) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Supersonic test flight

    A camera looking back over Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo's fuselage shows the rocket burn with a Mojave Desert vista in the background during a test flight of the rocket plane on Jan. 10. Cameras were mounted on the exterior of SpaceShipTwo as well as its carrier airplane, WhiteKnightTwo, to monitor the rocket engine's performance. The test was aimed at setting the stage for honest-to-goodness flights into outer space later this year, and eventual commercial space tours.

    More about SpaceShipTwo on PhotoBlog (Virgin Galactic) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Red lagoon

    The VLT Survey Telescope at the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory in Chile captured this richly detailed new image of the Lagoon Nebula, released on Jan. 22. This giant cloud of gas and dust is creating intensely bright young stars, and is home to young stellar clusters. This image is a tiny part of just one of 11 public surveys of the sky now in progress using ESO telescopes. (ESO/VPHAS team) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Fire on the mountain

    This image provided by NASA shows a satellite view of smoke from the Colby Fire, taken by the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer aboard NASA's Terra spacecraft as it passed over Southern California on Jan. 16. The fire burned more than 1,863 acres and forced the evacuation of 3,700 people. (NASA via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Where stars are born

    An image captured by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the Orion Nebula, an immense stellar nursery some 1,500 light-years away. This false-color infrared view, released on Jan. 15, spans about 40 light-years across the region. The brightest portion of the nebula is centered on Orion's young, massive, hot stars, known as the Trapezium Cluster. But Spitzer also can detect stars still in the process of formation, seen here in red hues. (NASA / JPL-Caltech) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Cygnus takes flight

    Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Antares rocket rises from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va, on Jan. 9. The rocket sent Orbital's Cygnus cargo capsule on its first official resupply mission to the International Space Station. (Chris Perry / NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A long, long time ago...

    This long-exposure picture from the Hubble Space Telescope, released Jan. 8, is the deepest image ever made of any cluster of galaxies. The cluster known as Abell 2744 appears in the foreground. It contains several hundred galaxies as they looked 3.5 billion years ago. Abell 2744 acts as a gravitational lens to warp space, brightening and magnifying images of nearly 3,000 distant background galaxies. The more distant galaxies appear as they did more than 12 billion years ago, not long after the Big Bang. (NASA / NASA via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Frosty halo

    Sun dogs are bright spots that appear in the sky around the sun when light is refracted through ice crystals in the atmosphere. These sun dogs appeared on Jan. 5 amid brutally cold temperatures along Highway 83, north of Bismarck, N.D. The temperature was about 22 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, with a 50-below-zero wind chill.

    Slideshow: The Year in Space (Brian Peterson / The Bismarck Tribune via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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