Alan LaVern Bean

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Alan Bean
Alan Bean
Country: United States
Organization: NASA
selected on October 17, 1963
(3rd NASA Group)
Calls: 2 space flights
Start of the
first space flight:
November 14, 1969
Landing of the
last space flight:
September 25, 1973
Time in space: 69d 15h 45min
EVA inserts: 3
EVA total duration: 10h 26min
retired on February 1981
Space flights

Alan LaVern Bean (born March 15, 1932 in Wheeler , Texas - † May 26, 2018 in Houston , Texas) was an American astronaut . He was the fourth person on the moon .

Start of career

Alan Bean graduated from Paschal High School in Fort Worth, Texas. He then studied at the University of Texas and obtained an engineering degree in aeronautical engineering in 1955 . In the same year he joined the US Navy when, earned his pilot's license and an attack squadron in was Jacksonville ( Florida ) allocated. After four years of service, he attended the Navy's test pilot school and finally worked on the testing of new types of aircraft .


Bean applied to NASA for the second group of astronauts, but was not accepted. In the next application he was successful and was presented to the public on October 17, 1963 by NASA along with 13 other applicants.


From February 1965, Bean took over the recovery systems of spaceships as a specialty in the Gemini program . In December 1965 he worked for the flights of Gemini 7 and Gemini 6 as a liaison officer ( Capcom ) from Cape Canaveral .

Tragically, it was the deaths of two fellow astronauts that advanced Bean's career. Elliot See and Charles Bassett were killed in a plane crash on February 28, 1966, and Alan Bean was on the seven-person commission investigating the cause of the crash. See and Bassett had been scheduled for Gemini 9 , so it came to redeployment in the crew assignments, whereby Bean was assigned as a substitute commander of Gemini 10 . Although he had no previous space experience, Bean was the first astronaut in the third selection group to be nominated for a command.

For the flight of Gemini 11 in September 1966, he worked again as a liaison officer, this time from the flight control center in Houston .

Apollo Application Program

Following the Gemini program, Bean was assigned to the Apollo Applications Program . The task of this department was to investigate other possible applications for the Apollo spacecraft and Saturn rockets in addition to the moon landings . The only project that was later realized from this was the Skylab space station .


Alan Bean on the moon

Bean's second assignment as a substitute also preceded the death of a colleague. Clifton Williams was assigned as a substitute pilot for the lunar module of the second Apollo mission, but died in a plane crash on October 5, 1967, whereupon the substitute commander Pete Conrad advocated that Bean should join the team. Bean became a substitute for the first assignment of a pilot for the lunar module.

Originally this was planned as the second manned Apollo flight called Apollo 8, so that Conrad, Gordon and Bean had hopes of being assigned as the main crew for Apollo 11 , which could be the earliest possible attempt at a moon landing. By rescheduling the flights, however, the lunar ferry test became Apollo 9. After their successful flight in March 1969, Conrad, Gordon and Bean were appointed to the main crew of Apollo 12 on April 10, 1969 as expected . Bean was now the only astronaut in the third selection group without a space mission.

When Apollo 12 was launched, the rocket was struck by lightning, which resulted in the loss of all telemetry data. John Aaron , a young employee in flight control, sent the request "SCE to AUX" via the Capcom. Bean was the only one who understood this unusual command, switched the data processing system SCE to emergency mode (AUX) and thus restored the telemetry transmission.

In March 2010, Alan Bean presented a piece of moon rock to the exhibition Sternstunden in the Oberhausen Gasometer

On November 19, 1969, Alan Bean set foot on the moon as the fourth person, where he set up and started up an isotope battery to generate energy for various experiments. He stayed a total of 7 hours and 45 minutes outside the lunar module "Intrepid".

Alan Bean's second space mission was in command of the Skylab 3 mission . Here he and his colleagues Owen Garriott and Jack Lousma set a new long-term world record with 59 days between July 29 and September 25, 1973, which, however, was broken again shortly afterwards by Skylab 4 .

For the Apollo Soyuz Test Project in July 1975 Bean was assigned as a substitute commander, but was not deployed.

Managerial activity

In October 1975 Alan Bean resigned from the service of the US Navy with the rank of captain at sea , but remained with the astronaut training group as its civilian chief. On February 26, 1981, he also resigned from NASA services.

Career as an artist

Bean already devoted himself to painting during his time as a test pilot . After leaving NASA, he turned this hobby into a profession and built a small studio in Houston for it. Many of his works, which are mostly concerned with space travel and staying on the moon, can be seen on the Internet.


Alan Bean was a second marriage and had a son and daughter from his first marriage. He died at the Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston on May 26, 2018, at the age of 86 - two weeks after suddenly feeling sick and hospitalized while traveling in Fort Wayne , Indiana .

See also

Web links

Commons : Alan Bean  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

supporting documents

  1. ^ A b Family Release Regarding the Passing of Apollo, Skylab Astronaut Alan Bean , accessed May 26, 2018