Alan Bean, 4th man to walk on the moon, dies at 86 - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Alan Bean, 4th man to walk on the moon, dies at 86

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Astronaut Alan Bean, who was the fourth person to walk on the moon, has died.

A statement released by NASA and family members says Bean died Saturday in Houston after a short illness. He was 86.

Bean was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, which made the second moon landing in 1969.

He then commanded the second crewed flight to the United States' first space station, Skylab, in 1973. On that mission, he orbited the Earth for 59 days.

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

His wife of 40 years, Leslie Bean, said in the statement he died peacefully surrounded by those who loved him.

The San Diego Air & Space Museum released a statement on the death of Alan Bean.

San Diego Air & Space Museum mourns the loss of Alan Bean

Captain Bean was one of twelve Americans to walk on the moon.

San Diego, CA – May 26, 2018 – Alan Bean, who walked on the moon as part of the Apollo 12 mission, and later commanded America’s first space station, passed away today, May 26, 2018 in Houston. He was 86.

“Alan Bean was an American hero who served his country with distinction as a decorated Naval aviator, test pilot and Apollo astronaut,” said Jim Kidrick, President and CEO of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. “As a member of the International Air & Space Hall of Fame and a regular honored guest at our events, he will always be remembered with great affection here at the Museum.”

Born March 15, 1932 in Wheeler, Texas, Alan LaVern Bean attended the University of Texas, earning an aeronautical engineering degree in 1955. As a Navy fighter and test pilot, he flew 27 different aircraft, accumulating 7,145 hours of flying time. Bean joined NASA in October 1963 as a part of astronaut Group 3. His initial assignments were on the back-up crews for Gemini 10 and Apollo 9. Bean was then selected as lunar module pilot for the 1969 Apollo 12 lunar landing mission. During the mission, he explored the lunar surface during two moon walks.

He flew a second time in space as commander of Skylab II in 1973, orbiting the earth aboard America’s first space station for a record 59 days, testing many of the concepts employed today by International Space Station astronauts.

Captain Bean retired from the Navy in 1975, continuing to work for NASA as head of the Astronaut Candidate Operations and Training Group.  He earned many honors and awards during his career, including two NASA Distinguished Service medals in 1981. That same year, he retired from NASA to devote his time to painting dramatic moonscapes that no camera could capture.

“The Apollo 12 mission could easily have been chosen to make the first moon landing instead of Apollo 11,” explained Francis French, the Museum’s Director of Education. “The slightest delay in the program, or a problem on Apollo 11, could have meant Alan Bean would have made the very first moon landing. As it was, he instead made the second, adding to our knowledge of that mysterious place.  With his command of the second mission to Skylab, the first American space station, he greatly advanced our knowledge of how to live and work in the new frontier of space long-term. Perhaps most significantly, after NASA he chose to dedicate the rest of his life to painting his experiences of walking on the moon.  In doing so, he allowed us to feel what he experienced. Twelve Americans walked on the moon, but only one painted it, and in doing so he shared the experience in a unique and profound way that no one else did.”

Alan Bean’s passing leaves only four of the twelve Americans who walked on the Moon still alive:  Buzz Aldrin, Dave Scott, Charlie Duke and Harrison Schmitt.

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