Thursday, 21 June, 2018

United States astronaut Alan Bean dead at 86

Astronaut Alan Bean dies at the age of 86 Astronaut Alan Bean dies at the age of 86
Velma Reese | 27 May, 2018, 15:54

He flew into space on his first mission in 1969 aboard the Apollo 12 on NASA's second moon landing.

Bean spent a total of 69 days in space, including 31 hours on the moon.

Astronout Alan Bean died Saturday after becoming ill two weeks earlier, NASA announced Saturday.

He added: "We will remember him fondly as the great explorer who reached out to embrace the universe". He was 86 years old.

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.

"His enthusiasm about space and art never waned".

Bean, who was an Apollo 12 astronaut, was one of 12 men to walk on the moon, and his death comes only four months after fellow moon-walker John Young died.

Bean's favorite theme was to depict astronauts in flight or on the lunar surface. "I mean, can you think of anything better?" He went into space a second time in July 1973, as the commander of the second crewed flight to Skylab, the U.S.' first space station.

On that mission, he orbited the Earth for 59 days.

Astronaut Alan Bean, 4th human to walk on moon, has died, NASA announces
NASA Astronaut Alan Bean dies at 86

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.

A decade later, Bean told me that his brain must have been wired differently from the norm for astronauts.

"I said, 'I'm going to be an artist, '" Bean recalled. It looked like courageous people did that.

"I just say it how I think it, even though other people will say, 'That's weird, ' because it's from the other side of the brain", he said. "I thought maybe I could learn to be, so that appealed to me".

Bean began his career as a test pilot in the U.S. Navy and in October 1963 became one of 14 trainees selected by NASA for its third group of astronauts.

Working at his home in Houston, Bean created paintings that focused on the Apollo missions, with images of himself and other astronauts on the moon rendered with the authenticity in lighting and color that only an eyewitness could provide. "He was a great man and this is a great loss", said astronaut Mike Massimino, who flew on two space shuttle missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope. "He was a one of a kind combination of technical achievement as an astronaut and artistic achievement as a painter".

"Sad day. Not only did we lose a spaceflight pioneer, 4th man to walk on the moon, but also an exceptional artist that brought his experience back to Earth to share with the world". Kelly added: "Fair winds and following seas, Captain".

She wrote that he was her "hero" and she felt "fortunate to have met him".

"Retired astronaut Clayton Anderson tweeted "#RIP Alan Bean.

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