Apollo Moonwalker Alan Bean dies at 86 after illness

Alan Bean

Apollo astronaut Alan Bean in training and on the lunar surface

He flew twice into space, first on Apollo 12 as the lunar module pilot, which was the second moon landing mission.

NASA tweeted saying Bean was Spacecraft Commander of Skylab Mission II who retired from NASA in 1981 and devoted his retirement to painting.

"I remember once looking back at Earth and starting to think, 'Gee, that's lovely.' Then I said to myself, 'Quit screwing off and go collect rocks.' We figured reflection wasn't productive", Alan Bean was quoted as saying by People magazine in 1981.

She said that Bean, a native Texan, died peacefully while surrounded by his loved ones.

Those materials and memories are what Bean brought back from the moon, but he also left something behind - his silver astronaut lapel pin.

They spent about 7 hours and 45 minutes completing two moonwalks in which they deployed instruments to study the moon's geology, installed a nuclear generator to power future experimental equipment and collected an extensive assortment of moon rocks.

He obtained a commission in Navy aviation and after completing test-pilot school was selected by NASA as one of 14 new astronauts in October 1963.

Bean was the fourth person to walk on the moon and spent over 10 hours on the lunar surface during Apollo 12.

"I think I would like to be remembered in the end as an astronaut and an artist", Bean told People.

"As all great explorers are, Alan was a boundary pusher", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement that credited Bean with being part of 11 world records in the areas of space and aeronautics.

After Apollo 12, Bean commanded Skylab's second crew on a record-setting 59 day, 24.4 million flight, generating 76,000 images of the Sun to help scientists understand its effects on the solar system.

"I'd always wanted to be a pilot, ever since I could remember", Bean said in the 1998 NASA oral history. But I want it to be the most handsome black dirt that's ever been painted in the history of art. "I think a lot of it just had to do with it looked exciting". "He was a one of a kind combination of technical achievement as an astronaut and artistic achievement as a painter".

He is survived by his wife, sister and two children from a prior marriage.

Mr. Bean returned to space in July 1973, when he commanded a three-man flight to the orbiting space research station Skylab, the forerunner of the International Space Station.

USA astronaut Karen Nyberg called Bean a kind, gracious and humble man and a true role model.

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