United States astronaut Alan Bean dead at 86

29 May, 2018, 16:30 | Author: Tracy Craig
  • Astronaut Alan Bean member of Apollo 12 moon mission dead at 86

Bean's paintings depict the moon, astronauts, modules and other elements of America's missions into space.

Bean spent 69 days, 15 hours and 45 minutes in space, including 31 hours and 31 minutes on the moon's surface. Alan Bean died Saturday at the age of 86.

In a statement, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine described Mr Bean as a "boundary pusher".

"We will remember him fondly as the great explorer who reached out to embrace the universe". His enthusiasm about space and art never waned. Bean told a 1998 NASA documentary.

"When you're getting ready to go to the moon, every day's like Christmas and your birthday rolled into one".

About the mission, he told People magazine in 1981: "I remember once looking back at Earth and starting to think, "Gee, that's beautiful".

Bean was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, the second Nasa mission to the Moon in November 1969, only four months after the historic first landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11.

He received a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Texas in 1955.

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He was a Navy test pilot first and later joined NASA's astronaut corps in 1963.

"I think of myself not as an astronaut who paints", he added, "but as an artist who was once an astronaut".

"It looked like courageous people did that. I said, 'I don't know, but if I can't I'm going to go to work at Jack in the Box (the fast-food hamburger chain)".

He soon retired from NASA and devoted himself to painting, a longtime hobby that had become an overriding passion. His paintings, inspired by space travel, featured lunar boot prints as well as small pieces of his mission patches which were stained by Moon dust.

Astronaut Mike Massimino described Bean as "the most extraordinary person I ever met". "He was a one of a kind combination of technical achievement as an astronaut and artistic achievement as a painter".

Over the course of that third career, Bean created more than 100 paintings that he said marked "the beginning of a new category in the progression of art history: art of human experiences off our home planet".

Astronaut Scott Kelly mourned Bean on Twitter, calling him a "spaceflight pioneer". "Thank you for letting me stand upon your shoulders". "He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly", Alan's wife Leslie, to whom he was married for 40 years, said in the statement.

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