Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

Astronaut and moonwalker Alan Bean dies at 86

Astronaut and moonwalker Alan Bean dies at 86 Astronaut and moonwalker Alan Bean dies at 86
Sandra Phillips | 27 May, 2018, 09:59

Bean, 86, suddenly fell ill while traveling in Fort Wayne, Indiana a few weeks ago, according to a family statement released by NASA.

In 1973 he was commander of the second crewed flight to Skylab - America's first space station. Bean and crew member Pete Conrad explored the moon's surface and conducted experiments while Richard Gordon orbited overhead in the command module, looking for prospective landing positions for future moon missions.

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

His wife of 40 years, Leslie Bean, said in a statement that Bean died peacefully surrounded by those who loved him.

Working from his home in Houston, Mr. Bean strove for accuracy in presenting the astronauts' gear and the prevailing light, but he used color liberally in place of the black, gray and white of the lunar terrain and the skies.

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

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They were busy, but, as Bean recalled during a 2016 NPR interview, "as I ran along, I remember. saying to myself, 'You know, this is really the moon".

Bean served as a test pilot in the U.S. Navy, and was among 14 trainees who were selected by NASA in 1963 for its third group of astronauts - after the Mercury Seven and the New Nine. Anyone who had the opportunity to know Alan was a better person for it, and we were better astronauts by following his example.

Mr. Bean developed his interest in painting while taking art courses early in his Navy career. He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly'.

With Bean's passing, only four of 12 Apollo moonwalkers are still alive - Buzz Aldrin, Dave Scott, Charlie Duke and Harrison Schmitt.

Bean retired from the Navy in 1975 and from NASA six years later. "I think a lot of it just had to do with it looked exciting". His Apollo-themed paintings featured canvases textured with lunar boot prints and were made using acrylics embedded with small pieces of his moon dust-stained mission patches.

Alan Bean is survived by his wife Leslie, a sister and two children from a previous marriage.

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