Alan Bean was selected as an astronaut for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1963. During his 18-year NASA career, he achieved a number of accomplishments, including being the Lunar Module Pilot on the Apollo 12 mission and commander of the Skylab Mission II.
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Alan was born in Wheeler, Texas, in 1932. He graduated from Paschal High School in 1950 where, in his last year, he was selected for a NROTC Scholarship at the University of Texas, Austin. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in 1955 and commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy.
He completed flight training and was awarded Naval Aviator wings the following year, and was assigned to Jet Attack Squadron 44 in Jacksonville, Florida. In 1960, he was selected for Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland. After his schooling was completed in 1969, he was assigned to the Service Test Division of the Naval Air Test Center. Alan spent three exciting years as a test pilot flying almost every type of plane in Navy service. His interest in art drove him to enroll in night art classes at nearby St. Mary's College.
In 1963, Alan was selected as a NASA astronaut. He became the Lunar Module Pilot on the Apollo 12 mission, and the fourth man to set foot on the moon.
In 1973, he again flew in space as spacecraft commander of the Skylab Mission II. This mission lasted fifty-nine days and traveled 24,400,000 miles. His crew accomplished 150 percent of their pre-mission goals, a record unequaled even today. Alan was then selected as backup spacecraft commander for the joint American-Russian Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Alan was assigned as Chief of Operations and Training and Acting Chief Astronaut until the first flight of the space shuttle. Throughout Alan's career as an astronaut when he was not in specific mission training, Alan studied art at nights and on the weekends. In 1981, he resigned as a NASA astronaut to devote full time to painting and speaking.
While at NASA, Alan helped establish eleven world records in space and astronautics. His numerous awards include two NASA Distinguished Service Medals and two Navy Distinguished Service Medals.
Today, Alan is an accomplished artist creating paintings that artistically record for future generations humankind's first exploration of another world.
When Alan is selected by a client to speak, his highest priority is to find out what are the three or four most important thoughts they, the client, want members of the audience to remember when the event or conference is over. With this information, he thinks about personal experiences that parallel the points the client in trying to emphasize.
Alan thinks of his talks as primarily entertaining, motivating and inspirational. Using 50 or 60 slides (he uses slides of his paintings when he talks about walking on the moon), he tries to share with the audience the things he would want to hear if their roles were reversed. Alan says, "I want them to feel they are looking inside the hearts and minds of the astronauts, scientists, and engineers who worked together as a team, took risks, extended the envelope, and made an impossible dream a reality, hoping this insight will inspire them to realize they can accomplish equally challenging goals in their lives as well."
After graduating with a NROTC ensign commission from the University of Texas and a degree in aeronautical science, Alan flew Navy jet fighters for four hears before training as a test pilot. During three years test pilot service, he flew everything the USN had, while quietly studying painting at a nearby college. In 1963, NASA picked him for moon project astronaut training. He became the fourth man to set foot on the moon. In 1973, Alan Bean flew again in space as spacecraft commander of the Skylab Mission II. Alan was appointed Chief of Operations and Training, and Acting Chief Astronaut which expired when the space shuttle took off for its first flight. His military and space lives were left behind in 1981 when Alan Bean resigned to devote full time to painting and speaking!
With a variety of medals and awards and 7,145 hours of flight time. Alan Bean, Texan, is the first artist in all of history to have experienced firsthand any place other than the planet Earth or their own imaginations.
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