Fourth person to walk on moon, Alan Bean dies

27 May, 2018, 15:58 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • GettyImages-76541289

Alan Bean, NASA astronaut the fourth man to walk on the moon, has died, aged 86 on Saturday, after a short illness, his family said in a press release via NASA.

Astronout Alan Bean died Saturday after becoming ill two weeks earlier, NASA announced Saturday. There are now only four men alive who have ever been on the moon, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, David Scott, Charles Duke, Jr., and Harrison "Jack" Schmitt. "He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly", said Leslie Bean, Bean's wife of 40 years, in a statement. "A native Texans, Alan died peacefully in Houston surrounded by those who loved him".

He obtained a commission in Navy aviation and after completing test-pilot school was selected by NASA as one of 14 new astronauts in October 1963.

In November 1969, he was the lunar module pilot for the second moon landing mission and completed two moonwalks.

He trained as a Navy test pilot under Conrad, who years later during their astronaut time played a crucial role in getting Bean designated for the Apollo mission.

Bean also commanded the second crewed flight to the first USA space station Skylab in July 1973. On that mission, he orbited the Earth for 59 days and traveled 24.4 million miles, setting a world record at the time.

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His decision in 1981 to give up his NASA career to become a full-time artist surprised some of his colleagues. To get to the moon and return safely we worked, prayed, and cheered together as a world.

"There is an evident sincerity, diligence, and restraint, coupled with a momentous subject that the artist clearly knows intimately, but he does not exploit or sensationalize", Roberta Smith wrote in The Times in June 2009, in a review of the paintings on Mr. Bean's website. "I was fortunate to be the first artist with the opportunity to be in the center of the action to capture what I saw and felt, and bring it back to earth to share with generations to come".

Bean was born in 1932, in Wheeler, Texas, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas in 1955. But it wasn't until Apollo 12 that he flew in space.

Bean and Conrad spent more than 31 hours on the lunar surface, including more than seven hours working outside of the module.

Beam is survived by his wife Leslie, sister Paula Stott, and children Amy Sue and son Clay. The paintings sometimes included footprints from a molding of the boots he wore on the moon along with pieces of his spacesuit patches and a sprinkling of their moondust residue.

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