Alan L. Bean
Alan LaVern Bean
March 15, 1932
Wheeler, Texas, U.S.
|Died||May 26, 2018 86) (aged|
Houston, Texas, U.S.
|Resting place||Arlington National Cemetery|
|Alma mater||UT Austin, B.S. Aeronautical Engineering, 1955|
|Occupation||Naval aviator, test pilot|
Time in space
|69d 15h 45min|
|Selection||1963 NASA Group 3|
Total EVA time
|10 hours 26 minutes|
|Missions||Apollo 12, Skylab 3|
Alan LaVern "Al" Bean (March 15, 1932 – May 26, 2018) was an American naval officer and aviator, aeronautical engineer, test pilot, and NASA astronaut; he was the fourth person to walk on the Moon. He was selected to become an astronaut by NASA in 1963 as part of Astronaut Group 3.
Before becoming an astronaut, Bean graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from University of Texas at Austin and re-joined the U.S. Navy—he served as an enlisted member for a year after his high school graduation. In 1956 he received his naval aviator wings, and served as a fighter pilot. In 1960 he graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, flew as a test pilot and was The New Nine selection finalist in 1962.
He made his first flight into space aboard Apollo 12, the second crewed mission to land on the Moon, at age 37 in November 1969. He made his second and final flight into space on the Skylab 3 mission in 1973, the second crewed mission to the Skylab space station. After retiring from the United States Navy in 1975 and NASA in 1981, he pursued his interest in painting, depicting various space-related scenes and documenting his own experiences in space as well as those of his fellow Apollo program astronauts. He was the last living crew member of Apollo 12.
Bean was born March 15, 1932,in Wheeler, the seat of Wheeler County in the northeastern Texas Panhandle. He considered Fort Worth his hometown. He was of Scottish descent. As a boy, he lived in Minden, the seat of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana, where his father worked for the U.S. Soil Conservation Service. Bean was a Boy Scout and he earned the rank of First Class. He graduated from R. L. Paschal High School in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1949.
Bean received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1955, where he also joined the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.
Following his high school graduation in 1949, Bean enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He was an Electronics Technician Striker at the NAS Dallas, Texas, until September 1950, when he was honorably discharged.In January 1955, Bean was commissioned a U.S. Navy ensign through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) at UT Austin, and attended flight training. After completing flight training in June 1956, he was assigned to Attack Squadron 44 (VA-44) at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, from 1956 to 1960, flying the F9F Cougar and A4D Skyhawk. After a four-year tour of duty, he attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, where his instructor was his future Apollo 12 Commander, Pete Conrad, graduating in November 1960. Bean took classes at St. Mary's College of Maryland during this tour, and flew as a test pilot on several types of naval aircraft. Following his assignment at USNTPS and aviation safety training with the University of Southern California (USC), he went through additional instruction with his old Attack Squadron 44, and was assigned to Navy Attack Squadron VA-172 at NAS Cecil Field, Florida, flying the A-4 Skyhawks, during which time he was selected as a NASA astronaut.
Bean logged more than 7,145 hours of flying time, including 4,890 hours in jet aircraft.
Bean was selected by NASA as part of Astronaut Group 3 in 1963 (after not being selected for Astronaut Group 2 the previous year).He was selected to be the backup command pilot for Gemini 10, but was unsuccessful in securing an early Apollo flight assignment. He was placed in the Apollo Applications Program in the interim. In that capacity, he was the first astronaut to dive in the Neutral Buoyancy Simulator and a champion of the process for astronaut training. When fellow astronaut Clifton Williams was killed in an air crash, a space was opened for Bean on the backup crew for Apollo 9. Apollo 12 Commander Conrad, who had instructed Bean at the Naval Flight Test School years before, personally requested Bean to replace Williams.
Bean was the Apollo Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 12, the second lunar landing. In November 1969, Bean and Pete Conrad landed on the Moon's Ocean of Storms—after a flight of 250,000 miles and a launch that included a harrowing lightning strike. He was the astronaut who executed John Aaron's "Flight, try SCE to 'Aux'" instruction to restore telemetry after the spacecraft was struck by lightning 36 seconds after launch, thus salvaging the mission. They 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. Dick Gordon remained in lunar orbit, photographing landing sites for future missions.
Bean had planned on using a self-timer for his Hasselblad camera to take a photograph of both Pete Conrad and himself while on the lunar surface near the Surveyor III spacecraft. He was hoping to record a good photo, and also to confuse the mission scientists as to how the photo could have been taken. However, neither he nor Conrad could locate the timer in the tool carrier tote bag while at the Surveyor III site, thus lost the opportunity. After finding the self-timer unit at the end of the EVA, when it was too late to use, he threw it as far as he could.His paintings of what this photo would have looked like (titled The Fabulous Photo We Never Took) and one of his fruitless search for the timer (Our Little Secret) are included in his collection of Apollo paintings.
Bean's suit is on display in the National Air and Space Museum.
Bean was the spacecraft commander of Skylab 3, the second crewed mission to Skylab, from July 29 to September 25, 1973. With him on the mission were scientist-astronaut Owen Garriott and Marine Corps Colonel Jack R. Lousma. Bean and his crew were on Skylab for 59 days, during which time they covered a world-record-setting 24.4 million miles.During the mission, Bean tested a prototype of the Manned Maneuvering Unit and performed one spacewalk outside the Skylab. The crew of Skylab 3 accomplished 150% of its mission goals.
On his next assignment, Bean was the 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 as a captain, and continued as head of the Astronaut Candidate Operations and Training Group within the Astronaut Office in a civilian capacity.
Bean logged 1,671 hours and 45 minutes in space, of which 10 hours and 26 minutes were spent in EVAs on the Moon and in Earth orbit.
Bean resigned from NASA in June 1981 to devote his time to painting. He said his decision was based on 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 and he hoped to express these experiences through his art.
As a painter, Bean wanted to add color to the Moon. "I had to figure out a way to add color to the Moon without ruining it," he remarked. In his paintings, the lunar landscape is not a monotonous gray, but shades of various colors. "If I were a scientist painting the Moon, I would paint it gray. I'm an artist, so I can add colors to the Moon", said Bean.
Bean's paintings include Lunar Grand Prix and Rock and Roll on the Ocean of Storms, and he used real Moon dust in his paintings.When he began painting, he realized that keepsake patches from his space suit were dirty with Moon dust. He added tiny pieces of the patches to his paintings, which made them unique. He also used a hammer, used to pound the flagpole into the lunar surface, and a bronzed Moon boot to texture his paintings.
In July 2009, for the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, Bean exhibited his lunar paintings at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington.
But I'm the only one who can paint the Moon, because I'm the only one who knows whether that's right or not.
Bean took a piece of Clan MacBean tartan to the Moon.In recognition of his Scottish ancestry, Bean stated:
As I remember it, I took Clan McBean tartan to the Moon and returned it to Earth. […] I did, in fact, give a piece of the tartan to the Clan McBean and also to the St Bean Chapel in Scotland. And I've still got some of it in my possession. I did not, however leave any of it on the Moon.
Bean died on May 26, 2018, in Houston, Texas, at the age of 86.His death followed the sudden onset of illness two weeks before while he was in Fort Wayne, Indiana. At the time of his death, Bean was married to his second wife, Leslie. He had a son, Clay, and a daughter, Amy Sue, both from his first marriage.
Bean was interred in Arlington National Cemetery on November 8, 2018 with a service which included a flyover, military band, carriage procession, and gun salute.
Bean received the Navy Astronaut Wings, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (twice), the NASA Distinguished Service Medal (twice), and the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star.
Bean was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1983,the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1997, the International Air & Space Hall of Fame in 2010, and the National Aviation Hall of Fame for 2010. He was also a fellow of the American Astronautical Society and a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
Bean received the University of Texas Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1970 and the Distinguished Engineering Graduate Award.Bean, the first Texan to walk on the Moon, was awarded the Texas Press Associations Texan of the Year Award for 1969. The 1973 Robert J. Collier Trophy was awarded to NASA and the Skylab crew. Bean was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Texas Wesleyan College in 1972, and was presented an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering Science degree from the University of Akron (Ohio) in 1974. The city of Chicago held a parade and presented gold medals to the Skylab astronauts in 1974. Bean was the recipient of Fédération Aéronautique Internationale's prestigious Yuri Gagarin Gold Medal for 1973 in Sydney, Australia. In 1975, President Ford presented Skylab commander Gerald Carr with the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy at a White House ceremony, on behalf of all Skylab astronauts (including Bean). Bean was a co-recipient of AIAA's Octave Chanute Award for 1975, along with fellow Skylab 3 astronauts Jack Lousma and Owen Garriott. In 2019, Northrop Grumman named the spacecraft for the NG-12 mission the S.S. Alan Bean.
In the 1998 HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon , Bean was portrayed by Dave Foley.Swedish indie pop artist Stina Nordenstam has a song called "The Return of Alan Bean" on her 1991 debut album Memories of a Color . British indie rock band Hefner released a single called "Alan Bean" in 2001, writing from the perspective of Bean during Apollo 12. For her 2019 novel, America Was Hard to Find, American writer Kathleen Alcott based her description of the Apollo landing on interviews she conducted with Bean.
Bean's in-flight Skylab diary is featured in Homesteading Space: the Skylab Story , a history of the Skylab program co-authored by fellow astronauts Dr. Joseph Kerwin and Dr. Owen Garriott and writer David Hitt, published in 2008.
The Apollo program, also known as Project Apollo, was the third United States human spaceflight program carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which succeeded in landing the first humans on the Moon from 1969 to 1972. It was first conceived during Dwight D. Eisenhower's administration as a three-person spacecraft to follow the one-person Project Mercury, which put the first Americans in space. Apollo was later dedicated to President John F. Kennedy's national goal of "landing a man on the Moon by the end of this decade and returning him safely to the Earth" in an address to Congress on May 25, 1961. It was the third US human spaceflight program to fly, preceded by the two-person Project Gemini conceived in 1961 to extend spaceflight capability in support of Apollo.
Apollo 13 was the seventh crewed mission in the Apollo space program and the third meant to land on the Moon. The craft was launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 11, 1970, but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank in the service module (SM) failed two days into the mission. The crew instead looped around the Moon, and returned safely to Earth on April 17. The mission was commanded by Jim Lovell with Jack Swigert as command module (CM) pilot and Fred Haise as lunar module (LM) pilot. Swigert was a late replacement for Ken Mattingly, who was grounded after exposure to rubella.
Apollo 7 was an October 1968 human spaceflight mission carried out by the United States. It was the first mission in the United States' Apollo program to carry a crew into space. It was also the first U.S. spaceflight to carry astronauts since the flight of Gemini XII in November 1966. The AS-204 mission, also known as "Apollo 1", was intended to be the first crewed flight of the Apollo program. It was scheduled to launch in February 1967, but a fire in the cabin during a January 1967 test killed the crew. Crewed flights were then suspended for 21 months, while the cause of the accident was investigated and improvements made to the spacecraft and safety procedures, and uncrewed test flights of the Saturn V rocket and Apollo Lunar Module were made. Apollo 7 fulfilled Apollo 1's mission of testing the Apollo command and service module (CSM) in low Earth orbit.
Apollo 9 was a March 1969 human spaceflight, the third in NASA's Apollo program. Flown in low Earth orbit, it was the second crewed Apollo mission that the United States launched via a Saturn V rocket, and was the first flight of the full Apollo spacecraft: the command and service module (CSM) with the Lunar Module (LM). The mission was flown to qualify the LM for lunar orbit operations in preparation for the first Moon landing by demonstrating its descent and ascent propulsion systems, showing that its crew could fly it independently, then rendezvous and dock with the CSM again, as would be required for the first crewed lunar landing. Other objectives of the flight included firing the LM descent engine to propel the spacecraft stack as a backup mode, and use of the portable life support system backpack outside the LM cabin.
Apollo 12 was the sixth crewed flight in the United States Apollo program and the second to land on the Moon. It was launched on November 14, 1969, from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, four months after Apollo 11. Commander Charles "Pete" Conrad and Apollo Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean performed just over one day and seven hours of lunar surface activity while Command Module Pilot Richard F. Gordon remained in lunar orbit. The landing site for the mission was located in the southeastern portion of the Ocean of Storms.
Extravehicular activity (EVA) is any activity done by an astronaut or cosmonaut outside a spacecraft beyond the Earth's appreciable atmosphere. The term most commonly applies to a spacewalk made outside a craft orbiting Earth. On March 18, 1965, Alexei Leonov became the first human to perform a spacewalk, exiting the capsule during the Voskhod 2 mission for 12 minutes and 9 seconds. The term also applied to lunar surface exploration performed by six pairs of American astronauts in the Apollo program from 1969 to 1972. On July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to perform a moonwalk, outside his lunar lander on Apollo 11 for 2 hours and 31 minutes. On the last three Moon missions astronauts also performed deep-space EVAs on the return to Earth, to retrieve film canisters from the outside of the spacecraft. Astronauts Pete Conrad, Joseph Kerwin, and Paul Weitz also used EVA in 1973 to repair launch damage to Skylab, the United States' first space station.
Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr., , was an American NASA astronaut, aeronautical engineer, naval officer and aviator, test pilot, and commanded the Apollo 12 space mission, on which he became the third man to walk on the Moon. Conrad was selected in NASA's second astronaut class in 1962.
John Watts Young was an American astronaut, naval officer and aviator, test pilot, and aeronautical engineer. He became the ninth person to walk on the Moon as Commander of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972. Young enjoyed the longest career of any astronaut, becoming the first person to fly six space missions over the course of 42 years of active NASA service. He is the only person to have piloted and commanded four different classes of spacecraft: Gemini, the Apollo Command and Service Module, the Apollo Lunar Module, and the Space Shuttle.
David Randolph Scott is a retired test pilot and NASA astronaut who was the seventh person to walk on the Moon. The commander of Apollo 15, Scott was selected as an astronaut as part of the third group in 1963. Scott flew three times in space, and is the only living commander of an Apollo mission that landed on the Moon and one of four surviving Moon walkers. Following the deaths of James Irwin in 1991 and Alfred Worden in 2020, Scott is now the last surviving crew member of Apollo 15.
James Arthur Lovell Jr. is an American retired astronaut, naval aviator, and mechanical engineer. In 1968, as command module pilot of Apollo 8, he became one of the first three humans to fly to and orbit the Moon. He then commanded the 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission which, after a critical failure en route, circled around the Moon and returned safely to Earth through the efforts of the crew and mission control.
Fred Wallace Haise Jr. is an American former NASA astronaut, engineer, fighter pilot with the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force and test pilot. He is one of only 24 people to have flown to the Moon, having flown as Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 13. He was to have been the sixth person to land and walk on the Moon, but the Apollo 13 mission was aborted before lunar landing. He went on to fly Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Tests in 1977, and retired from NASA in 1979.
Clifton Curtis "C.C." Williams Jr., was an American naval aviator, test pilot, mechanical engineer, major in the United States Marine Corps, and NASA astronaut, who was killed in a plane crash; he never went into space. The crash was caused by a mechanical failure in a NASA T-38 jet trainer, which he was piloting to visit his parents in Mobile, Alabama. The failure caused the flight controls to stop responding, and although he activated the ejection seat, it did not save him. He was the fourth astronaut from NASA's Astronaut Group 3 to have died, the first two having been killed in separate T-38 flights, and the third in the Apollo 1 fire earlier that year. The aircraft crashed in Florida near Tallahassee within an hour of departing Patrick AFB.
Jack Robert Lousma, , is an American aeronautical engineer, retired United States Marine Corps officer, former naval aviator, NASA astronaut, and politician. He was a member of the second crew on the Skylab space station in 1973. In 1982, he commanded STS-3, the third Space Shuttle mission.
Ronnie Walter Cunningham, is a retired American astronaut. In 1968, he was a Lunar Module Pilot on the Apollo 7 mission. He was NASA's third civilian astronaut, and has also been a fighter pilot, physicist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and author of The All-American Boys. Following the deaths of Donn F. Eisele in 1987 and Wally Schirra in 2007, Cunningham is the last surviving crew member of Apollo 7.
Richard Francis Gordon Jr. was an American naval officer and aviator, test pilot, and NASA astronaut, and an American football executive. He was one of 24 people to have flown to the Moon, as the command module pilot of the 1969 Apollo 12 mission which orbited the Moon 45 times. Prior to his lunar flight Gordon had flown in space as the pilot of the 1966 Gemini 11 mission.
The United States Astronaut Badge is a badge of the United States, awarded to military pilots, naval flight officers, navigators/combat systems officers, flight surgeons, and civilian pilots who have completed training and performed a successful spaceflight. A variation of the astronaut badge is also issued to civilians who are employed with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as specialists on spaceflight missions. It is the least awarded qualification badge of the United States military.
Several planned missions of the Apollo crewed Moon landing program of the 1960s and 1970s were canceled for a variety of reasons, including changes in technical direction, the Apollo 1 fire, hardware delays, and budget limitations. After the landing by Apollo 12, Apollo 20, which would have been the final crewed mission to the Moon, was canceled to allow Skylab to launch as a "dry workshop". The next two missions, Apollos 18 and 19, were later canceled after the Apollo 13 incident and further budget cuts. Two Skylab missions also ended up being canceled. Two complete Saturn Vs ended up going unused and are currently on display in the United States.
NASA Astronaut Group 4 was a group of six astronauts selected by NASA in June 1965. While the astronauts of the first two groups were required to have an undergraduate degree or the professional equivalent in engineering or the sciences, they were chosen for their experience as test pilots. Test pilot experience was waived as a requirement for the third group, and military jet fighter aircraft experience could be substituted. Group 4 was the first chosen on the basis of research and academic experience, with NASA providing pilot training as necessary. Initial screening of applicants was conducted by the National Academy of Sciences.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alan Bean .|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Alan Bean|