Moonwalking astronaut-artist Alan Bean dies at 86

Astronaut Alan Bean member of Apollo 12 moon mission dead at 86

FILE PHOTO: Astronaut Alan L. Bean holds a Special Environmental Sample Container filled with lunar soil collected during the Apollo 12 mission in this NASA handout photo provided November 19, 1969. According to Bean's official NASA biography, Mission II "accomplished 150 percent of its pre-mission forecast goals".

"I'd always wanted to be a pilot, ever since I could remember", Bean said in the NASA oral history. "I said, 'I don't know, but if I can't I'm going to go to work at Jack in the Box (the fast-food hamburger chain)". He was a Navy Test Pilot School graduate and had 5,500 hours in 27 different aircraft types. After leaving NASA, the former astronaut devoted himself to painting. "I thought maybe I could learn to be, so that appealed to me".

Astronaut-artist Alan Bean speaks at the 2009 opening of an exhibit titled "Alan Bean: Painting Apollo, First Artist on Another World" at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

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.

"Alan Bean is one of the great renaissance men of his generation - engineer, fighter pilot, astronaut and artist".

"Alan and I have been best friends for 55 years - ever since the day we became astronauts", said Walt Cunningham, a Lunar Module Pilot on the Apollo 7 mission.

Subtropical Storm Alberto continues to lumber northward
On Sunday, gusty showers began lashing parts of Florida, and authorities were warning of the possibility of flash flooding . However, while we have less of a rain and storm threat the humidity and heat will continue to be high.

United States Navy Captain Alan Bean became an astronaut in 1963.

Bean was born on March 15, 1932 in Wheeler, Texas.

"A lot of things I think about come from the right side of my brain", he said in 2007. His paintings, inspired by space travel, featured lunar boot prints as well as small pieces of his mission patches which were stained by Moon dust.

In 1994 Bean told The New York Times the otherworldly perspectives he got in space inspired him to devote the latter half of his life to art, to the surprise of many of his colleagues.

Retired U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly said the world had not only lost "a spaceflight pioneer ... but also an exceptional artist that brought his experience back to Earth to share with the world".

In addition to his wife Leslie, Alan is survived by his sister Paula Stott and two children from a prior marriage, daughter Amy Sue and son Clay.

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