Editor's Note: Apollo and Skylab astronaut Alan Bean, the fourth human to walk on the moon and an accomplished artist, died on May 26, 2018. He was 86. More ›
Before retiring, astronaut Alan Bean logged 1,671 hours and 45 minutes in space, of which 10 hours and 26 minutes were spent in extravehicular activities (EVA) on the Moon and in Earth orbit.
Captain Alan Bean, the fourth person to walk on the moon, was born in Wheeler, Texas on 15 March 1932. After attending R. L. Paschal High School in Fort Worth, Texas, Bean went on to attend the University of Texas where her earned a Bachelor of Science in aeronautical engineering (1955). While at the University of Texas, Bean was a member of the Navy ROTC. Upon graduation, Bean was commissioned, completed flight training and was later assigned to a jet attack squadron in Jacksonville, Fla. After a four-year tour of duty, Bean attended the Navy Test Pilot School, flying as a test pilot on several types of naval aircraft.
In October 1963 Bean was one of the third group of astronauts named by NASA and served as a backup astronaut for the Gemini 10 and Apollo 9 missions.
Apollo 12: It was in November 1969, when Bean (lunar module pilot) and Captain Pete Conrad landed in the moon's "Ocean of Storms" after a flight of some 250,000 miles. This was the second manned lunar landing. Bean and Conrad explored the lunar surface, deployed several lunar surface experiments and installed the first nuclear power generator station on the moon to provide the power source.
After becoming one of the only 12 men in history to walk on the moon, Bean served NASA in a variety of roles.
Bean was spacecraft commander of Skylab Mission II (SL-3) in 1973. As commander on this 59-day, 24,400,000 mile, world-record setting flight, Bean helped to accomplish 150 percent of the mission's pre-mission forecast goals.
Bean's next assignment for NASA was as a backup spacecraft commander of the United States flight crew for the joint American-Russian Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.
Bean retired from the Navy in October 1975. However, he continued as head of the Astronaut Candidate Operations and Training Group within the Astronaut Office at NASA in a civilian capacity.
An accomplished artist, Bean retired from NASA in June 1981 to devote his full time to painting. Bean said his decision was based on the fact that, in his 18 years as an astronaut, he was fortunate enough to visit worlds and see sights no artist's eye -- past or present -- has ever viewed firsthand. He is pursuing his dream at his home and studio in Houston, Texas.
Awards and Recognitions:
*Bean helped to establish 11 world records in space and astronautics
*Two NASA Distinguished Service Medals
*Navy Astronaut Wings
*Two Navy Distinguished Service Medals
*Rear Admiral William S. Parsons Award for Scientific and Technical Progress
*Distinguished Alumnus Award (University of Texas)
*Distinguished Engineering Graduate Award (University of Texas)
*Godfrey L. Cabot Award
*National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Trustees Award
*Man of the Year Award (Texas Press Associations, 1969)
*Gold Medal (City of Chicago)
*Robert J. Collier Trophy (1973)
*Federation Aeronautique Internationales Yuri Gagarin Gold Medal (1973)
*V.M. Komarov Diploma for 1973 (1974)
*Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy (1975)
*AIAA Octave Chanute Award (1975)
*AAS Flight Achievement Award for 1974 (1975)
*Honorary Doctorate of Science from Texas Wesleyan College (1972)
*Honorary Doctorate of Engineering Science from the University of Akron (Ohio) (1974)