Apollo and Skylab Astronaut
Born in Wheeler, Texas, in 1932, Alan Bean began his Naval training when at
age 17 in high school he joined the Naval Air Rescue. Later in his senior
year, he was selected for an NROTC Scholarship at the University of Texas,
Austin. Upon graduation, he was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical
Engineering and was commissioned to Ensign, United States Navy.
In 1956, Bean completed flight training and was awarded Naval Aviator Wings. He spent four years with Jet Attack Squadron 44 in Jacksonville, Florida, and was then selected for Naval Test Pilot School in Paxtuxent River, Maryland. After his schooling was complete, Bean was assigned in November of 1959 to the Services Test Division of the Naval Air Test Center.
In 1963, Bean was selected as an astronaut for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He served in the back-up flight crews for the Gemini 10 and Apollo 9 missions. He was the lunar module pilot on the Apollo 12 mission, man's second lunar landing, and became the forth man to set foot on the moon on November 19, 1969.
In 1973, Bean again flew in space as commander of the Skylab 3 mission, the United States' first space station. He traveled 24,400,000 miles in orbit around the Earth for fifty-nine days, and with his crew accomplished 150 percent of their pre-mission goals, a record that still stands today. Bean was then selected as backup spacecraft commander for the joint American-Russian Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Finally, he was assigned as Chief of Operations and Training and Acting Chief Astronaut until the first flight of the space shuttle.
While at NASA, Bean helped establish eleven world records in space and aeronautics. He was awarded two NASA Distinguished Service Medals and two Navy Distinguished Service Medals. He received the Robert J. Collier Trophy, the Yuri Gagarin Gold Medal, and numerous other national and international honors. Bean has flown twenty-seven types of military aircraft, as well as many civilian airplanes, and has logged 7,145 hours of flight time.
Throughout his career as a pilot and an astronaut, Bean's interest in art flourished. He began his formal artistic studies with night classes in drawing and watercolor at St. Mary's College in Maryland while still a test pilot. During his years at NASA, he continued his art training in his free time, expanding his repertoire and developing a unique style of fantastic realism.
In 1981, Alan Bean resigned from NASA to devote time to painting and motivational public speaking. An accomplished explorer artist, Bean creates paintings for future generations that help record humankind's first exploration of another world.
Engineer, Astronaut and
Fourth Man to Walk on the Moon