Astronaut and moonwalker Alan Bean dies at 86

Alan Bean the fourth man to walk on the moon is shown during a preview of his work at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in Austin Texas

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.

They included a re-creation of Armstrong securing an American flag in the lunar dust; Mr. Bean standing with Conrad on the moon, looking toward Earth; Eugene A. Cernan riding in a lunar rover during the Apollo 17 mission, and the Earth rising above the moon. Six years later, he piloted the lunar module on Apollo 12, the second moon landing mission, and walked on the moon's surface with fellow astronaut Charles Conrad.

"Alan Bean once said 'I have the nicest life in the world.' It's a comforting sentiment to recall as we mourn his passing", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a press release.

Four years after Apollo 12, Bean commanded the second crew to live and work on board the Skylab orbital workshop. He served as backup astronaut for the Gemini 10 and Apollo 9 missions. He was fascinated by model planes as a youngster and received a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering in 1955 from the University of Texas.

Bean's favorite theme was to depict astronauts in flight or on the lunar surface.

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Bean was a Navy test pilot before being selected to become an astronaut in 1963.

Alan Bean, pictured in 2007, walked on the moon and later became an artist who created Apollo-themed paintings. "I mean, can you think of anything better?"

"I'd always wanted to be a pilot, ever since I could remember", Bean said in the 1998 NASA oral history.

"He was a one-of-a-kind combination of technical achievement as an astronaut and artistic achievement as a painter", said Massimino, who flew on two space shuttle missions. Kelly added: "Fair winds and following seas, Captain". Mr. Bean and Conrad made a pinpoint landing on terrain called the Ocean of Storms, having descended in their lunar module from the capsule being flown in orbit by a third astronaut, Richard Gordon.

"As a girl who grew up with passions for spaceflight and art, Alan Bean was my hero", she wrote. "Thank you for letting me stand upon your shoulders". He is survived by his wife Leslie, a sister Paula Stott, and two children from a prior marriage, a daughter Amy Sue and son Clay. "He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly", said Leslie Bean, Bean's wife of 40 years, in a statement. But I want it to be the most attractive black dirt that's ever been painted in the history of art. I am so grateful he was my mentor and friend, and I will miss him terribly.

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