Published: Sun, May 27, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Astronaut Alan Bean, fourth man on the moon, dies at 86

Astronaut Alan Bean, fourth man on the moon, dies at 86

The fourth man to walk on the moon, Alan Bean (in 2008), has died at age 86, following a sudden illness.

His family said in a statement that Bean, who was the fourth person to walk on the moon, died in Houston on Saturday, two weeks after falling ill while traveling.

Bean retired from the Navy in 1975 and from NASA six years later.

Leslie Bean, Alan Bean's wife of 40 years, said her husband was the strongest and kindest man she ever knew.

Working at his home in Houston, Bean created paintings that focused on the Apollo missions, with images of himself and other astronauts on the moon rendered with the authenticity in lighting and color that only an eyewitness could provide.

Born March 15, 1932 in Wheeler, Texas the future moonwalker earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas in 1955.

Said Bridenstine: "After logging 1,671 hours and 45 minutes in space, Alan passed the baton to the next generation of astronauts and changed fronts, looking to push the boundaries of his own imagination and ability as an artist".

Bean's favorite theme was to depict astronauts in flight or on the lunar surface.

Alan Bean, a former US Navy test pilot, was selected by Nasa as a trainee in 1963.

Schmitt, the lunar module pilot for Apollo 17, was one of many astronauts who mourned Bean's death and paid tribute Saturday to his accomplishments that blazed trails for future space exploration. "But I've been there and I can tell you it's mostly black dirt".

He said he thought about it often, "and when I look at the moon at night, [I] think about that pin up there, just as shiny as it ever was, and someday maybe somebody will go pick it up".

Mike Massimino, who flew on two space shuttle missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope, remembered Mr Bean as "extraordinary". "He was a one of a kind combination of technical achievement as an astronaut and artistic achievement as a painter".

Many fellow space explorers posted tributes to Bean on Twitter. Mr. Bean and Conrad made a pinpoint landing on terrain called the Ocean of Storms, having descended in their lunar module from the capsule being flown in orbit by a third astronaut, Richard Gordon. "Fair winds and following seas, Captain", Kelly tweeted.

"As a girl who grew up with passions for spaceflight and art, Alan Bean was my hero", she wrote. He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly'.

Alan Bean is survived by his wife Leslie, a sister and two children from a previous marriage.

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