Alan LaVern Bean (born March 15, 1932), (CAPT, USN, Ret.), is an
American former 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
1963 as part of
Astronaut Group 3.
He made his first flight into space aboard Apollo 12, the second
manned mission to land on the Moon, at the age of thirty-seven years
in November 1969. He made his second and final flight into space on
Skylab 3 mission in 1973, the second manned mission to the Skylab
space station. After retiring from the
United States Navy
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. As of 2018, he
is also the last living crew member of Apollo 12.
1.1 Early life and education
1.2.1 Apollo program
3 Awards and honors
5 Personal life
6 In media
8 See also
11 External links
Early life and education
Bean was born March 15, 1932, in Wheeler, the seat of Wheeler County
in the northeastern Texas Panhandle. He is 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. He graduated from
R. L. Paschal High School
R. L. Paschal High School in Fort Worth,
Texas, in 1950.
Bean received a
Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering
University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin in 1955. At UT he was a member
Delta Kappa Epsilon
Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Omega Chi chapter). He was
U.S. Navy Ensign through the Naval Reserve Officers
Training Corps at UT Austin, and attended flight training. After
completing flight training, he was assigned to a 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
U.S. Naval Test Pilot School
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
Attack Squadron 172 (VA-172) at NAS Cecil Field, Florida, flying the
A-4 Skyhawk from 1962 to 1963, during which time he was selected as a
Bean was a Boy Scout and he earned the rank of First Class.
Bean logged more than 7,145 hours flying time, including 4,890 hours
in jet aircraft.
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
Apollo Applications Program in the interim. In that
capacity, he is 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.
Main article: Apollo 12
Bean on the
Moon during Apollo 12
Bean was the 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
provide the power source. Dick Gordon remained in lunar orbit
photographing landing sites for future missions.
Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon, and
Alan Bean pose with their Apollo 12
Saturn V moon rocket in the background on the pad at
Cape Canaveral on
29 October 1969
Bean had planned on using a self-timer for his
Hasselblad camera in
order to take a photograph of both himself and
Pete Conrad 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 and thus lost the opportunity. He did not locate the
self-timer until the very end of the EVA when it was too late to use -
at which point he threw it as hard 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
Bean's suit is on display in the National Air and Space Museum.
Bean shaving during the
Skylab 3 mission
Bean was also the spacecraft commander of
Skylab 3, the second manned
mission to Skylab, July 29, 1973, to September 25, 1973. With him on
the 59-day, 24,400,000 mile world record setting flight were
Owen Garriott and Marine Corps Colonel Jack R.
Lousma. During the mission Bean tested a prototype of the Manned
Maneuvering Unit and performed one spacewalk outside the Skylab. The
hard-working crew of
Skylab 3 accomplished 150 percent of its
Bean, February 2009
On his next assignment, Bean was backup spacecraft commander of the
United States flight crew for the joint American-Russian Apollo-Soyuz
Bean retired from the Navy in October 1975 as a Captain but continued
as head of the
Astronaut Candidate Operations and Training Group
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 is a fellow of the American Astronautical Society, and a member
of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
Awards and honors
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (2x)
NASA Distinguished Service Medal (2x)
Rear Admiral William S. Parsons Award for Scientific and Technical
University of Texas Distinguished Alumnus Award and Distinguished
Engineering Graduate Award
Godfrey L. Cabot Award
National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Trustees Award
Texas Press Associations Man of the Year Award for 1969
Chicago Gold Medal
Robert J. Collier Trophy
Robert J. Collier Trophy for 1973
Federation Aeronautique Internationale
Federation Aeronautique Internationale
Yuri Gagarin Gold Medal for
V. M. Komarov Diploma for 1973 (1974)
Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy for 1975 (1975)
Octave Chanute Award for 1975 (1975)
AAS Flight Achievement Award for 1974 (1975)
Inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1983
Inducted into the U.S.
Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1997
Enshrined into the
National Aviation Hall of Fame for 2010
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
University of Akron (Ohio) in
Bean in his studio
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 describing his
Moon painting capability
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",
Bean's paintings include Lunar Grand Prix and Rock and Roll on the
Ocean of Storms, and he uses 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 adds tiny pieces of the patches to
his paintings, which make them unique. He also uses a hammer to pound
the flagpole into the lunar surface, and a bronzed moon boot, to
texture his paintings.
Alan Bean museum marker in Shamrock, Texas
Bean presents a piece of moon rock at the
Gasometer Oberhausen in
Bean is married and has a son and a daughter.
Bean took a little piece of MacBean tartan to the Moon.
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. The song runs almost six and a half minutes.
My Life As An
Apollo: An Eyewitness Account (with Andrew Chaikin) (1998)
Into the Sunlit Splendor: The Aviation Art of William S. Phillips
(with Ann Cooper, Charles S. Cooper and Wilson Hurley) (2005)
Mission Control, This is Apollo: The Story of the First Voyages to the
Moon (with Andrew Chaikin) (2009)
Painting Apollo: First Artist on Another World (2009)
Skylab diary is featured in "Homesteading Space," a
history of the
Skylab program co-authored by fellow astronauts Dr.
Joseph Kerwin and Dr.
Owen Garriott and writer David Hitt, published
United States Navy
United States Navy portal
List of spaceflight records
^ Joachim Becker. "
Alan Bean - EVA experience".
^ a b c d e "Piloted the lunar module on Apollo 12, the second lunar
landing mission". New Mexico Museum of Space History.
^ The Lunar Hall of Fame:
Alan Bean Archived 2009-03-25 at the Wayback
^ a b "
Alan Bean Oral History". NASA. Retrieved November 11,
^ "Scouting and Space Exploration". Archived from the original on
March 4, 2016.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "
^ Chaikin, Andrew. A Man on the Moon. Penguin Books Ltd.
^ von Braun, Wernher (2010), Buckbee, Ed, ed., The Rocket Man: Wernher
von Braun: The Man Who Took America to the Moon: His Weekly Notes:
1961-1969 (DVD), Steward & Wise Music Publishing, p. 1966-07
p. 79, ISBN 978-1-935001-27-0
NASA - Ocean Rendezvous". Nasa.gov. 1969-11-19. Archived from the
original on 15 December 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
^ "Our Little Secret". Alanbeangallery.com. Retrieved
^ Bean, Alan and Chaikin, Andrew. "Apollo: An Eyewitness Account", The
Greenwich Workshop Press; First Edition (January 10, 1998).
^ "Historic Spacecraft - Space Suit Photos".
^ "Alan Bean".
Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. Retrieved December
^ "Bean, Alan L". The National Aviation Hall of Fame. Retrieved
December 24, 2017.
^ "Alan Bean". International Museum of Art. Retrieved December 24,
^ "Conversations: Astronaut-Turned-
Moon Artist Alan Bean". Washington
Post. July 19, 2009. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
^ Bean, Alan. "Message from Alan Bean". Alan Bean: first artist on
another world. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
^ "Clan MacBean Arrives On The Moon". alanbeangallery.com. Retrieved
^ "From the Earth to the Moon, Full Cast and Crew". IMDb. Retrieved
December 5, 2017.
Alan Bean at AllMusic
Jones, Eric (1995). "TV Troubles". Retrieved 2007-07-16.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alan Bean.
Limited Edition Art: Prints and Canvases
Astronautix biography of Alan Bean
Alan Bean on IMDb
Bean at Encyclopedia of Science
Official publisher website for Homesteading Space
Perigee & apogee
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Moon is made of green cheese"
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Earth sciences portal
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People who have walked on the Moon
Neil Armstrong (CDR, Apollo 11)
Buzz Aldrin (LMP, Apollo 11)
Pete Conrad (CDR, Apollo 12)
Alan Bean (LMP, Apollo 12)
Alan Shepard (CDR, Apollo 14)
Edgar Mitchell (LMP, Apollo 14)
David Scott (CDR, Apollo 15)
James Irwin (LMP, Apollo 15)
John Young (CDR, Apollo 16)
Charles Duke (LMP, Apollo 16)
Eugene Cernan (CDR, Apollo 17)
Harrison Schmitt (LMP, Apollo 17)
Apollo Lunar Module
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Astronaut Group 3, "The Fourteen", 1963
Astronaut Group 2 ←
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List of astronauts by year of selection
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