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27 May 2018, 09:57 | Dale Webster
ImageAlan Bean stepping onto the moon in 1969 during the Apollo 12 mission. He was joined by the mission commander Pete
Former US astronaut Alan Bean, who was the fourth man to walk on the Moon, has died in Texas aged 86, his family has said.
His family said he had fallen ill two weeks ago in IN and died peacefully at a hospital in Houston. According to NASA, Bean flew into space twice, first as the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12 in November 1969, and then as commander of the second crewed flight to the United States' first space station in July 1973.
In 1973, Bean commanded the Skylab 3 mission, the second manned mission to the first USA space station. The astronauts on that mission spent 59 days in space, a record at the time.
The astronaut spent a total of 1,671 hours and 45 minutes in space.
Sadly, NASA has reported that Astronaut Alan Bean has died.
Bean died at Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston at the age of 86.
Bean was born in Wheeler, Texas, in 1932 and educated at the University of Texas - graduating in 1955.
But in 1981, he gave up his NASA career to become a full-time artist.
NASA said Bean was one of the third group of astronauts named by NASA in October 1963.
Mr. Bean later commanded the second of three flights to the Skylab orbiting laboratory, working with Jack R. Lousma of the Marine Corps and Owen K. Garriott, a scientist-astronaut, on a mission that studied Earth's makeup and the sun's atmosphere.
"I just say it how I think it, even though other people will say, 'That's weird, ' because it's from the other side of the brain", he said. "He was a one of a kind combination of technical achievement as an astronaut and artistic achievement as a painter". His Apollo-themed paintings featured canvases textured with lunar boot prints and were made using acrylics embedded with small pieces of his moon dust-stained mission patches.
Bean is survived by his wife, sister and two children from a prior marriage.
Leslie Bean, Alan Bean's wife of 40 years, said her husband was the strongest and kindest man she ever knew. And for years, Alan and I never missed a month where we did not have a cheeseburger together at Miller's Café in Houston.
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