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Published: Tue, May 29, 2018
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Famed Astronaut Alan Bean Dies at 86

Famed Astronaut Alan Bean Dies at 86

"Alan Bean once said 'I have the nicest life in the world, '" said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

He added: "We will remember him fondly as the great explorer who reached out to embrace the universe".

Bean was widely respected as a pilot and astronaut but was equally known as a space-themed artist.

Sadly, NASA has reported that Astronaut Alan Bean has died.

In 1998 NASA oral history, Bean recalled his excitement at preparing to fly to the moon. "[There's] no telling what that costs per minute to be on the moon - millions and millions of dollars - so you wanted to make every one of 'em productive". Four years later, Bean also served as commander of NASA's second crewed mission to the Skylab station, where he and two other crew members orbited Earth for a then-record breaking 59 days.

Bean was born on March 15, 1932, in Wheeler, Tex., and completed high school in Fort Worth. "My boss asked if I could make a living off art, and I said I didn't know, but I had to find out".

"It looked like fearless people did that". Other times, he wanted to discuss items in the description he was writing to go with a painting.

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

Bean retired from NASA in 1981 and devoted much of his time to creating an artistic record of space exploration. 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.

Many of Mr. Bean's fellow astronauts were evidently taken aback by his choosing the art world over private business.

Astronaut Scott Kelly mourned Bean on Twitter, calling him a "spaceflight pioneer".

She wrote that he was her "hero" and she felt "fortunate to have met him".

United States Navy Captain Alan Bean became an astronaut in 1963. "Thank you for letting me stand upon your shoulders".

"Alan was the strongest and kindest man I ever knew", his wife, Leslie Bean, said in a statement.

Reflecting on his experience, Bean once said: "I remember once looking back at Earth and starting to think, Gee, that's attractive.' Then I said to myself, 'Quit screwing off and go collect rocks.' We figured reflection wasn't productive". "And for years, Alan and I never missed a month where we did not have a cheeseburger together at Miller's Café in Houston", Cunningham said.

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