Friday, 17 August, 2018

NASA Astronaut Alan Bean dies at 86

Astronaut Alan L. Bean holds a Special Environmental Sample Container filled with lunar soil collected during the Apollo 12 mission in this NASA handout Astronaut Alan Bean, 4th human to walk on moon, has died, NASA announces
Frank Williams | 27 May, 2018, 09:56

American astronaut Alan Bean, the fourth person to walk on the moon in 1969 during the Apollo 12 mission and commanded a crew on the Skylab space station in 1973, died in Houston on Saturday, federal officials said.

Astronout Alan Bean died Saturday after becoming ill two weeks earlier, NASA announced Saturday.

He twice ventured into space, originally in 1969 on the Apollo 12 moon landing mission, and later as commander of the second crew to fly to the first United States space station Skylab in 1973.

NASA tweeted saying Bean was Spacecraft Commander of Skylab Mission II who retired from NASA in 1981 and devoted his retirement to painting.

Bean spent 69 days, 15 hours and 45 minutes in space, including 31 hours and 31 minutes on the moon's surface.

"Alan was the strongest and kindest man I ever knew", his wife, Leslie Bean, said in a statement.

Astronaut-artist Alan Bean speaks at the 2009 opening of an exhibit titled "Alan Bean: Painting Apollo, First Artist on Another World" at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

Retired Astronaut Alan Bean 66 poses for a portrait in his spacesuit at the Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas U.S
Image Alan Bean was the fourth man to walk on the moon

Alan LaVern Bean was born on March 15, 1932, in Wheeler, Texas, but grew up in Fort Worth. He had an engineering background and was a test pilot in the Navy, but he took art lessons at night.

"I remember once looking back at Earth and starting to think, 'Gee, that's handsome.' Then I said to myself, 'Quit screwing off and go collect rocks.' We figured reflection wasn't productive", Alan Bean was quoted as saying by People magazine in 1981.

Bean is the eighth of 12 Apollo moonwalkers to die and the second this year, after the passing of Apollo 16 commander John Young in January. In 1963, he was selected to join NASA's third group of astronauts. "I think a lot of it just had to do with it looked exciting".

His Apollo-themed paintings feature canvases textured with lunar boot prints and embedded with small pieces of his moon dust-stained mission patches.

In addition to his wife, Leslie, Alan Bean is survived by a sister, Paula Stott; and two children from a previous marriage, Amy Sue Bean and Clay Bean. "And for years, Alan and I never missed a month where we did not have a cheeseburger together at Miller's Café in Houston", Cunningham said.

"You know, people romanticize the moon", Mr. Bean wrote in his book.

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