Famed Astronaut Alan Bean Dies at 86

Famed Astronaut Alan Bean Dies at 86

Artist-astronaut Alan Bean, the moonwalker who saw himself as different from the rest, died today at the age of 86 at Houston Medical Hospital. His death followed his suddenly falling ill while on travel in Fort Wayne, Indiana two weeks before. He went into space a second time in July 1973, as the commander of the second crewed flight to Skylab, the U.S.' first space station. "Alan and I never missed a month where we did not have a cheeseburger". "He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly", Bean's widow, Leslie Bean, said in a statement. She added he died "peacefully. surrounded by those who loved him".

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the space agency mourned his loss.

Bean, a former U.S. Navy test pilot who was part of NASA's third-ever group of astronauts, twice flew to space.

"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. That "fantastic suite of lunar samples" is "a scientific gift that keeps on giving today and in the future", Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 lunar module pilot and the only geologist to walk on the moon, said in the statement. He and his commander Charles "Pete" Conrad collected 75 pounds of rocks and lunar soil for studies back on Earth.

Bean retired from the Navy in 1975 and NASA in 1981.

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"I have the honor and responsibility of being first", he said. The paintings sometimes included footprints from a molding of the boots he wore on the moon along with pieces of his spacesuit patches and a sprinkling of their moondust residue.

Mr. Bean developed his interest in painting while taking art courses early in his Navy career.

A decade later, Bean told me that his brain must have been wired differently from the norm for astronauts. "I mean, can you think of anything better?" "I've got the Earth and my imagination, and I'm the first to have the moon, too".

Of the four men, only Aldrin is still alive, now aged 88.

He is survived by his second wife, Leslie, and by a son, Clay, and a daughter, Amy Sue, from his marriage to his first wife, Sue.