Astronaut Alan Bean, 4th human to walk on moon, has died, NASA announces
29 May, 2018, 16:34
"When I became head of the Skylab Branch of the Astronaut Office, we worked together and Alan eventually commanded the second Skylab mission".
A decade later, Bean told me that his brain must have been wired differently from the norm for astronauts.
"I'd say 60 percent of them thought maybe I was having a midlife crisis", Mr. Bean recalled in his book "Apollo" (1998), written with Andrew Chaikin, in which he reproduced many of his paintings. "We're really here. That's the Earth up there.' And I said it two or three times to myself".
But in 1981, he gave up his NASA career to become a full-time artist. He was a Navy Test Pilot School graduate and had 5,500 hours in 27 different aircraft types. He also spoke in depth with his fellow astronauts, and intently studied photos and videos from the moon missions to prepare himself for his next painting.
For the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11's moon landing, Bean exhibited his paintings of lunar scenes at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington.
In 1973, he commanded the second crewed flight to the first U.S. space station, orbiting the Earth for 59 days and travelling 24.4 million miles - one of 11 world records he set in the fields of space and aeronautics. He flew twice into space, first as the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, the second moon landing mission, in November 1969, and then as commander of the second crewed flight to the United States' first space station, Skylab, in July 1973. 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.
"Retired astronaut Clayton Anderson tweeted "#RIP Alan Bean. Six years later, he piloted the lunar module for the Apollo 12 mission and followed Pete Conrad onto the surface of the moon.
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.
The Apollo 12 mission started with a shakeup. His trips to space prompted his surprise turn of career. "I think a lot of it just had to do with it looked exciting. He said he hoped to capture those experiences through his art".
He is survived by his wife, a sister and two children from a prior marriage, a daughter Amy Sue and son, Clay.
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