Alan Bean, Fourth Man to Walk on the Moon, Dies at 86

29 May, 2018, 16:31 | Author: Courtney Reynolds

During the Apollo 12 mission, Bean walked on the moon alongside Charles "Pete" Conrad, who died in July 1999 at age 69.

Bean's passing was announced by NASA in a press release this weekend.

Leslie Bean, Alan Bean's wife of 40 years, said her husband was the strongest and kindest man she ever knew. "I said, 'I don't know, but if I can't I'm going to go to work at Jack in the Box (the fast-food hamburger chain)". He attended the Navy Test Pilot School and was one of 14 trainees selected by NASA for its third group of astronauts in October 1963. But he gave it up because "the more I thought about it, the more I realized there were young men and women at NASA in the astronaut office that could fly the shuttle as good as I could or better, but I was the only one interested in trying to do this other job".

"I think I would like to be remembered in the end as an astronaut and an artist", Bean told People.

Bean was widely respected as a pilot and astronaut but was equally known as a space-themed artist.

He then commanded the second crewed flight to the United States' first space station, Skylab, in 1973.

Alan Bean (R), pictured in November 1969 with his fellow USA astronauts of Apollo 12, Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr.

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He trained as a Navy test pilot under Conrad, who years later during their astronaut days played a key role in getting Bean designated for the Apollo 11 mission. On Nov. 19, 1969, Bean became the fourth human to walk on the moon.

Bean was born on March 15, 1932 in Wheeler, Texas.

He later described how complex and risky the mission had been: "It was more science fiction to us, I think, than it was to the average public". He flew into space on his first mission in 1969 aboard the Apollo 12 on NASA's second moon landing.

According to NPR, Bean's paintings didn't just look at NASA's manned moon missions with "painstaking detail", as he also used actual moon dust and ground-up Apollo spacecraft debris as materials for his paintings.

"Sad day. Not only did we lose a spaceflight pioneer, 4th man to walk on the moon, but also an exceptional artist that brought his experience back to Earth to share with the world".

In addition to his wife Leslie, Alan is survived by his sister Paula Stott and two children from a prior marriage, daughter Amy Sue and son Clay.

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