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. 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 Bean (March 15, 1932 – May 26, 2018) was an American naval officer and naval 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.
The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second largest and second most powerful air force in the world.
A test pilot is an aircraft pilot with additional training to fly and evaluate experimental, newly produced and modified aircraft with specific manoeuvres known as flight test techniques.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.
He made his first flight into space aboard Apollo 12, the second manned 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 manned 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 that of his fellow Apollo program astronauts. He was the last living crew member of Apollo 12.
Apollo 12 was the sixth manned 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 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.
The Moon is an astronomical body that orbits planet Earth and is Earth's only permanent natural satellite. It is the fifth-largest natural satellite in the Solar System, and the largest among planetary satellites relative to the size of the planet that it orbits. The Moon is after Jupiter's satellite Io the second-densest satellite in the Solar System among those whose densities are known.
Skylab 3 was the second manned mission to the first American space station, Skylab. The mission began July 28, 1973, with the launch of three astronauts on the Saturn IB rocket, and lasted 59 days, 11 hours and 9 minutes. A total of 1,084.7 astronaut-utilization hours were tallied by the Skylab 3 crew performing scientific experiments in the areas of medical activities, solar observations, Earth resources, and other experiments.
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 1950.
Wheeler is a city, and the county seat of Wheeler County, Texas, United States, located on the eastern border of the Texas Panhandle. The population was last reported at 1,592 in the 2010 census.
Wheeler County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 5,410. Its county seat is Wheeler. The county was formed in 1876 and organized in 1879. It is named for Royall Tyler Wheeler, a chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court.
The Texas Panhandle is a region of the U.S. state of Texas consisting of the northernmost 26 counties in the state. The panhandle is a rectangular area bordered by New Mexico to the west and Oklahoma to the north and east. The Handbook of Texas defines the southern border of Swisher County as the southern boundary of the Texas Panhandle region.
Bean received a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1955.
The University of Texas at Austin is a public research university in Austin, Texas. It was founded in 1883 and is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. The University of Texas was inducted into the Association of American Universities in 1929, becoming only the third university in the American South to be elected. The institution has the nation's eighth-largest single-campus enrollment, with over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students and over 24,000 faculty and staff. As of December 2018, it also has the second-largest endowment among higher-education institutions in the US, surpassed in wealth only by Harvard University.
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, 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. He then flew as a test pilot on several types of naval aircraft. Following his assignment at USNTPS, he was assigned to Navy Attack Squadron VA-172 at NAS Cecil Field, Florida, flying the A-4 Skyhawk from 1962 to 1963, during which time he was selected as a NASA astronaut.
Ensign is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank acquired the name. This rank has generally been replaced in army ranks by second lieutenant. Ensigns were generally the lowest ranking commissioned officer, except where the rank of subaltern existed. In contrast, the Arab rank of ensign, لواء, liwa', derives from the command of units with an ensign, not the carrier of such a unit's ensign, and is today the equivalent of a major general.
VA-44, nicknamed the Hornets, was an Attack Squadron of the US Navy. The squadron was established as Fighter Squadron VF-44 on 1 September 1950, and redesignated VA-44 on 1 January 1956. It was disestablished on 1 May 1970. It was the second squadron to be designated VA-44, the first VA-44 was disestablished on 8 June 1950.
Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr., , was an American NASA astronaut, aeronautical engineer, naval officer and aviator, test pilot, and during the Apollo 12 mission became the third man to walk on the Moon. Conrad was selected in NASA's second astronaut class.
Bean logged more than 7,145 hours flying time, including 4,890 hours in jet aircraft.
A jet aircraft is an aircraft propelled by jet engines.
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 manned 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 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 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 little piece of MacBean tartan to 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.
This article is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (May 2018)
Bean received the Navy Astronaut Wings, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (twice), and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal (twice).
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.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. 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 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.
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.
Apollo 9 was the third crewed mission in the United States Apollo space program, the second to be sent into orbit by a Saturn V rocket, and the first flight of the command and service module (CSM) with the Apollo Lunar Module. The mission's three-person crew consisted of Commander James McDivitt, Command Module Pilot David Scott, and Lunar Module Pilot Rusty Schweickart. The crew spent ten days in low Earth orbit testing several aspects critical to landing on the Moon, including the LM engines, backpack life support systems, navigation systems, and docking maneuvers.
Buzz Aldrin is an American engineer and a former astronaut and fighter pilot. As lunar module pilot on the Apollo 11 mission, he and mission commander Neil Armstrong were the first two humans to land on the Moon.
Eugene Andrew Cernan was an American astronaut, naval aviator, electrical engineer, aeronautical engineer, and fighter pilot. During the Apollo 17 mission, Cernan became the eleventh person to walk on the Moon. Since he re-entered the Apollo Lunar Module after Harrison Schmitt on their third and final lunar excursion, he is the last person to have walked on the Moon.
James Arthur Lovell Jr. is a former NASA astronaut, Naval Aviator, and retired Navy captain. Lovell is known for being the commander of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, which suffered a critical failure en route to the Moon but was brought back safely to Earth through the efforts of the crew and mission control. In addition to being part of the Apollo 13 crew, Lovell was the command module pilot of Apollo 8, the first Apollo mission to enter lunar orbit.
Fred Wallace Haise Jr. is an American former NASA astronaut, 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.
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 manned crew on the Skylab space station in 1973. In 1982, he commanded STS-3, the third Space Shuttle mission.
Paul Joseph Weitz was an American naval officer and aviator, aeronautical engineer, test pilot, and NASA astronaut, who flew into space twice. He was a member of the three-man crew who flew on Skylab 2, the first manned Skylab mission. He was also Commander of the STS-6 mission, the first of the Space Shuttle Challenger flights.
Thomas Kenneth Mattingly II, , better known as Ken Mattingly, is a former American naval officer and aviator, aeronautical engineer, test pilot, Rear Admiral in the United States Navy and astronaut who flew on the Apollo 16, STS-4 and STS-51-C missions.
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.
Richard Francis Gordon Jr. was an American naval officer and aviator, chemist, test pilot, and NASA astronaut, as well as an American football executive. He was one of only 24 people to have flown to the Moon, as the Command Module Pilot for the Apollo 12 mission. He also flew in space in 1966 as the Pilot of the Gemini 11 mission.
Joseph Peter Kerwin, M.D., , is an American physician and former NASA astronaut, who served as Science Pilot for the Skylab 2 mission from May 25–June 22, 1973. He was the first physician to be selected for astronaut training.
Thomas Patten Stafford is an American former Air Force officer, test pilot, and NASA astronaut.
NASA's Astronaut Group 2, also known as The New Nine, was the second group of astronauts selected by NASA and announced on September 17, 1962. The group was required to augment the original Mercury 7 with the announcement of the Gemini program and leading to the Apollo program. While the Original 7 had been selected to accomplish the simpler task of orbital flight, the new challenges of rendezvous and lunar landing led to the selection of candidates with advanced engineering degrees as well as test pilot experience. Two of this group had been candidates for the original 7, but were not selected then for medical reasons. In addition, Group 2 became the first group with civilian test pilots in the group; See flew for General Electric, while Armstrong flew the X-15 research plane for NASA.
Astronaut Group 3 was a group of fourteen astronauts selected by NASA. Their selection was announced in October 1963. Four died in training accidents before they could fly in space. All of the surviving ten flew in the Apollo program; five also flew Gemini missions. Aldrin, Bean, Cernan and Scott walked on the Moon. They are the only ones of the first 19 NASA astronaut groups to have no members fly on the Space Shuttle.
Several planned missions of the Apollo manned 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 manned 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 multiple locations around the United States.
NASA's Astronaut Group 5 was a group of nineteen astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. Of the six Lunar Module Pilots that walked on the Moon, three came from Group 5. The group as a whole is roughly split between the half who flew to the Moon and the other half who flew Skylab and Shuttle, providing the core of Shuttle Commanders early in that program. This group is also distinctive in being the only time when NASA hired a person into the astronaut corps who had already earned astronaut wings, X-15 pilot Joe Engle. John Young labelled the group the "Original Nineteen" in parody of the original seven Mercury astronauts.
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