Published: Sun, May 27, 2018
Sci-tech | By Brandy Patterson

Alan Bean (1932 - 2018), Apollo astronaut walked on the Moon

Alan Bean (1932 - 2018), Apollo astronaut walked on the Moon

Astronaut Alan Bean poses for a portrait in front of a mockup of NASA's lunar module in advance of his Apollo 12 moon mission in 1969.

A statement released by NASA and family members says Bean died Saturday in Houston after a short illness.

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 USA space station Skylab in 1973.

Bean also commanded the second crewed flight to the first U.S. space station Skylab in July 1973.

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His second foray outside of Earth's atmosphere saw Bean log a record-breaking 59-day, 24.4 million-mile flight (39.3 million kilometers).

"Alan Bean was the most extraordinary person I ever met", astronaut Mike Massimino told NASA.

The three astronauts who preceded Alan Bean to the moon's surface were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11 in July 1969, and Charles Conrad who was also on the Apollo 12 mission. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas in 1955. "But I want it to be the most lovely black dirt that's ever been painted in the history of art". Celebrities and notable figures who have recently passed awayBean was one of 14 trainees selected by NASA for its third group of astronauts in October 1963.

Walt Cunningham, fellow astronaut who flew on Apollo 7, said the two have remained friends for 55 years.

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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.

Mr. Bean developed his interest in painting while taking art courses early in his Navy career.

Bean retired from the Navy in 1975 and NASA in 1981. 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. Anyone who had the opportunity to know Alan was a better person for it, and we were better astronauts by following his example.

"Alan Bean once said 'I have the nicest life in the world, ' " Bridenstine said in a statement. "He was a great man and this is a great loss".

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He is survived by his wife, a sister and two children.

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