Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Astronaut and moonwalker Alan Bean dies at 86

Astronaut and moonwalker Alan Bean dies at 86

In 1973, Bean commanded the Skylab 3 mission, the second manned mission to the first United States space station.

Bean retired from the Navy in 1975 and from NASA six years later.

Leslie Bean, Alan Bean's wife of 40 years, said her husband was the strongest and kindest man she ever knew. "A native Texans, Alan died peacefully in Houston surrounded by those who loved him".

Schmitt, the lunar module pilot for Apollo 17, was one of many astronauts who mourned Bean's death and paid tribute Saturday to his accomplishments that blazed trails for future space exploration. Bean and Conrad spent more than 31 hours on the lunar surface, including more than seven hours working outside of the module.

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.

In a statement, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine described Mr Bean as a "boundary pusher".

He became the fourth human to walk on the moon during the Apollo 12 mission in November 1969, exploring Oceanus Procellarum alongside the late astronaut Pete Conrad.

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Back in 1998, Mr Bean described his preparation for the moon landing as "Christmas and your birthday rolled into one", adding: "I mean, can you think of anything better?" "We're really here. That's the Earth up there.' And I said it two or three times to myself".

In 1973, he commanded the second crewed flight to the first USA 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 was a one-of-a-kind combination of technical achievement as an astronaut and artistic achievement as a painter", said Massimino, who flew on two space shuttle missions.

"A lot of things I think about come from the right side of my brain", he said in 2007.

On his retirement from NASA in 1981 he started turning out works that incorporated moon dust and Apollo memorabilia in the paintings.

Mr. Bean returned to space in July 1973, when he commanded a three-man flight to the orbiting space research station Skylab, the forerunner of the International Space Station.

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

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