By: Ringo Bones
When the “first batches” of astronauts destined for space travel was set-up by NASA during its establishment back in 1958, all of them were men, from the military with aviation and test piloting experience, making Alan Bean your stereotypical astronaut from NASA’s golden age of space exploration. Born March 15, 1932 in Wheeler, Texas, Alan LaVern Bean was an American naval officer and a naval aviator, aeronautical engineer, test pilot and NASA astronaut. He was selected to become an astronaut by NASA in 1963 as part of Astronaut Group 3. Based on his career, to folks old enough to remember the iconic 1970s TV series The Six-Million Dollar Man, one could easily mistake that fictional TV astronaut Steve Austin was based on Alan Bean. Before passing away back in May 26, 2018, was the last living crew of Apollo 12.
Bean became the fourth man to walk on the Moon during the Apollo 12 mission back in November 1969. He made his second and final flight into space on the Skylab 3 mission in 1973 – the second manned mission to the Skylab space station. After retiring from the United States Navy in 1975 and NASA in 1981, Bean 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. To folks born way after Neil Armstrong’s first walk on the Moon knew Alan Bean more as an artist/chronicler than someone who actually walked on the Moon over 40 years ago.