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  Aldrin's and Cernan's opinions of one another

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Author Topic:   Aldrin's and Cernan's opinions of one another

Posts: 385
From: Hudson, MA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 05-09-2006 10:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know that I should not believe everything I read at Wikipedia but they do have A LOT of info on the Apollo program and the astronauts. Anyway, they made a point to state that Buzz Aldrin and Gene Cernan intensely disliked each other. Can anyone comment on the validity of this or any direct knowledge?

Yes, I realize the astronauts are human and have unique personalities. I did read Walt Cunningham's book (which I thought it was great), and "The Right Stuff," which although factually flawed in many respects is said to have nailed Al Shepard's split personality.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 30021
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-09-2006 10:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The description would appear to be based on passages that appear in their books and not first-hand knowledge. Having seen the two together in the same room and interacting with each other, they might have been playing nice for the "cameras" but I doubt it. "Intensely dislike" is probably too strong an admonition but only Aldrin and Cernan can say for certain.


Posts: 385
From: Hudson, MA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 05-10-2006 04:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Robert. I want to be clear to you and all that I have the greatest respect for both men and their achievements and am not trying to create an issue that does not exist. I was actually very surprised when I read that they disliked each other. Like you said, only they know for sure.

Duke Of URL

Posts: 1316
From: Syracuse, NY
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 05-12-2006 07:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Duke Of URL   Click Here to Email Duke Of URL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Time wounds all heels. And vice-versa.

Any intense emotion is difficult to maintain over forty years (ask your grandparents).


Posts: 659
From: West Midlands, UK
Registered: Jun 2005

posted 07-10-2006 05:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm reading a very interesting book at the moment by Andrew Smith called, "Moon Dust" and on page 119 he quotes Aldrin,

"He's a very competitive person. Very driving to put his 'Last Man on the Moon' as a very significant position."

The author writes, "Last Man on the Moon" is the title of Gene Cernan's recently published memoirs. Clearly there's some bad blood here. Aldrin raises Cernan's near disastrous Gemini 9 spacewalk, as a consequence of which NASA withdrew an experimental manoeuvring backpack from Gemini 12."

This raises the possibility of Aldrin blaming Cernan for the loss of his AMU on Gemini 12. Also there was some talk of Aldrin getting Cernan's Gemini 9 seat but this never happened. Also Cernan slated Aldin for coming to him when Cernan shared an office with Armstrong and tried to put his case for being first out on the Apollo 11 LEVA. All points to the two men not being best of buddies.


Posts: 1296
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 07-10-2006 05:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These are all interesting comments, however I worry that sometimes we read too much into what is written, which may very well have been taken out of context. I don't claim that my profession is anywhere as glamorous as that of an astronaut, but I know that I criticize some of my peers quite often, and sometimes I am quite blunt. But that does not mean that I don't like them. And except for a few rare cases, I'm always willing to have a beer with them.

Now I'm sure there are astronauts that don't get along. But when the chips were down, I bet that they would have been willing to work closely together for a successful mission, and probably have given a slap on the back when the mission succeeded. Criticism is human nature.


Posts: 434
From: Tucson, AZ USA
Registered: Sep 2004

posted 07-10-2006 07:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Novaspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Aldrin isn't on anyone's "best buddy" list, and generally kept to himself at NASA. He wasn't Deke's favorite guy, but got his crew assignments because of his competence and brilliance.

Many ambivalent attitudes toward him were changed when he punched Bart Sibrel, which many of the others wished they had done.


Posts: 659
From: West Midlands, UK
Registered: Jun 2005

posted 07-11-2006 12:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually just checking with Cernan's book 'The Last Man on the Moon' and it says that Deke asked Cernan to take over Aldrin's seat on Gemini 12. This never happened because the AMU was dropped from the mission.

Cernan says of Aldrin's tasks during his EVA, "In true Buzz fashion, he would openly claim in later years that he had personally solved all the problems of EVA, and that his spacewalk went smoothly because he was better prepared than the rest of us. Quite frankly, we said he was only working a "monkey board." Draw your own conclusions."

From that it would seem there was some bad blood between the two, clash of egos, I think.

Duke Of URL

Posts: 1316
From: Syracuse, NY
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 07-12-2006 08:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Duke Of URL   Click Here to Email Duke Of URL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From what I read in Aldrin's book, he pretty much said the same thing about his spacewalk tasks. However, please note that Aldrin was the only Gemini Astronaut doing actual work in space (as opposed to Ed White's drifting) who didn't come in early or half dead from exhaustion. Therefore I believe he DID solve the problems of EVA.

As far as Cernan, either he or Stafford mis-set a switch and nearly caused a fatal crash during Apollo 10, and Cernan was hot-dogging by his own admission shortly before a flight when he dumped a chopper into the Banana River. So, given the factBuzz Aldrin did pretty well on his missions and Cernan probably wouldn't have survived under a less sympathetic boss than Deke Slayton there could be some jealousy there, too.


Posts: 271
From: Bristol UK
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 07-13-2006 04:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for star61   Click Here to Email star61     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Aldrin's EVA was easier, because he had more grab rails fitted and paced himself better. That was mission requirements, learned, from the experience of previous EVAs. Mike Collins said his problems were much over played by some in NASA.


Posts: 81
From: Santa Monica, CA
Registered: Jun 2013

posted 06-14-2014 09:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for neo1022   Click Here to Email neo1022     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm reading Cernan's book, and his low estimation of Aldrin is apparent every time he mentions the guy. From the tone of the comments, it sounds like Cernan thought Aldrin was a bore, a poor decision maker, and not a very promising astronaut.

I was a bit surprised at the not-so-thinly veiled dislike, but then I stumbled onto this thread. So perhaps there's something to the rumors after all...


Posts: 153
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Aug 2012

posted 06-14-2014 10:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lspooz   Click Here to Email lspooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would put little credence into rumors (especially Wikipedia),and glean from the above postings the point that criticism and competition can worsen any writings.


Posts: 244
From: UK
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 06-15-2014 12:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo14LMP   Click Here to Email Apollo14LMP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the film "Last Man on the Moon," I noticed that some Apollo astronauts appear more than once. Neil Armstrong is signposted and really nice things are said about him. Cernan in person referred to Neil Armstrong as his dear friend and said he had gone to soon.

I only saw one fleeting shot of Aldrin in one part of the film. Bean, Gordon and other appear frequently.

This would tend to support what I had read in Davis and Cernan's "Last Man on the Moon" book — that Cernan and Aldrin are not best friends.

I am much too polite to ask awkward questions and did not digress to this topic when I met Gene Cernan briefly recently. Don't think they would be rude in public to each other though.


Posts: 176
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 06-15-2014 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From another point of view, Slayton credited the entire team — Aldrin, his backup Cernan and the crew training/support team with tackling the past EVA problems to support GT-12's spacewalks.

I think Aldrin was bummed about losing the AMU, and probably not too enthusiastic about handling the simplified EVA tasks — maybe even to the point of complaining to Cernan — but ultimately I would say Slayton was probably right to credit the entire team for the success. The training and support team rooted out the cause of Cernan, Dick Gordon and to a lesser extent, Mike Collins' EVA problems. Cernan no doubt had some solid input based on his EVA experience — and Aldrin must have listened. Aldrin had to ultimately pull it together and perform the job.

Whatever problems Aldrin and Cernan had with each other, they put them aside enough to create a successful Gemini 12 flight.


Posts: 305
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2011

posted 06-17-2014 03:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There's definitely some needle between Geno and Buzz alright. Anyone who attended Spacefest III will recall Geno presenting Tom Stafford with a "Buzz Aldrin - Rocket Hero" T-Shirt and Buzz looking distinctly non-plussed about that. Ilbasso has a photo of it here.

Ask either astronaut their thoughts on a subject and reference their counterpart's opinion on the same subject and watch the reaction. The reaction is not quite hypergolic but you can see some sparks!

Direct (repeated) quote from Geno to me at a show delivered with a cheeky wink

I'd rather be last than second!


Posts: 116
From: Albuquerque, NM USA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 07-18-2014 01:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jtheoret   Click Here to Email jtheoret     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It was actually Stafford who gave Cernan the Buzz shirt.. thats what made it so funny!


Posts: 1772
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 07-18-2014 07:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe Buzz DID contribute hugely to solving EVA in space by training underwater for the tasks. As a SCUBA diver Buzz realized this would be an excellent training medium and pushed hard for its use. He was right!


Posts: 1068
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 07-18-2014 11:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is well known that Aldrin drove the others nuts with his lengthy one-sided discussions about rendezvous in space, early on.

I won't name names, but a while back I was talking with one of the Apollo astronauts about how they all got along today. The reply was they all got along better now than they did back in the day. He said, "Let's just say some of us were less liked than others by the rest." He didn't suggest anyone specifically, but I couldn't help but wonder if he meant Aldrin...


Posts: 754
From: Huntington Beach, Calif.
Registered: Aug 2004

posted 07-19-2014 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I remember Chris Kraft saying that Buzz almost lost his seat on GT-12 for suggesting that Cernan do an EVA and cut the steel band holding the Agena shroud.

Everyone was in Mission Control trying to come up with a solution to the angry alligator. Buzz said that Gene should get the tin snips and cut the band to save the mission. Kraft asked if he was serious, Buzz said he was, Kraft asked what about the band energy being released and cutting Cernan's suit.

Kraft was not happy by Buzz's poor judgment and was seriously considered for replacement on GT-12.

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