Apollo and Skylab astronaut Alan Bean, the fourth human to walk on the moon and an accomplished artist, has died. Bean, 86, died on Saturday, May 26, at Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly,” said Leslie Bean, Alan Bean’s wife of 40 years. Alan Bean is one of the great renaissance men of his generation — engineer, fighter pilot, astronaut and artist,” said Schmitt. Four years after Apollo 12, Bean commanded the second crew to live and work on board the Skylab orbital workshop. “A native Texan, Alan died peacefully in Houston surrounded by those who loved him.” A test pilot in the U.S. Navy, Bean was one of 14 trainees selected by NASA for its third group of astronauts in October 1963. In total, Bean logged 69 days, 15 hours and 45 minutes in space, including 31 hours and 31 minutes on the moon’s surface. On Nov. 19, 1969, Bean, together with Apollo 12 commander Charles “Pete” Conrad, landed on the Ocean of Storms and became the fourth human to walk on the moon. He flew twice into space, first as the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, the second moon landing mission, in November 1969, and then as commander of the second crewed flight to the United States’ first space station, Skylab, in July 1973.
Anyone who had the opportunity to know Alan was a better person for it, and we were better astronauts by following his example. “Alan Bean was the most extraordinary person I ever met,” said astronaut Mike Massimino, who flew on two space shuttle missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope. He attended the Navy Test Pilot School and accumulated more than 5,500 hours of flying time in 27 different types of aircraft. “Alan and I have been best friends for 55 years — ever since the day we became astronauts,” said Walt Cunningham, who flew on Apollo 7.
Born March 15, 1932, in Wheeler, Texas, Bean received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas in 1955. “Alan was the strongest and kindest man I ever knew. He was a great man and this is a great loss,” Massimino said. 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.
“Their description of bright green concentrations of olivine (peridot) as ‘ginger ale bottle glass,’ however, gave geologists in Mission Control all a big laugh, as we knew exactly what they had discovered.” “When Alan’s third career as the artist of Apollo moved forward, he would call me to ask about some detail about lunar soil, color or equipment he wanted to have represented exactly in a painting.
“When I became head of the Skylab Branch of the Astronaut Office, we worked together and Alan eventually commanded the second Skylab mission.” “We have never lived more than a couple of miles apart, even after we left NASA.
His death followed his suddenly falling ill while on travel in Fort Wayne, Indiana two weeks before.
Original article published at http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=52625