Alan Bean was one of the third group of astronauts named by NASA in October 1963. He served as backup astronaut for the Gemini 10 and Apollo 9 missions.
Captain Bean was lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, man's second lunar landing. In November 1969, Captain Bean and Captain Pete Conrad landed in the moon's Ocean of Storms after a flight of some 250,000 miles. They explored the lunar surface, deployed several lunar surface experiments, and installed the first nuclear power generator station on the moon to provide the power source. Captain Richard Gordon remained in lunar orbit photographing landing sites for future missions.
Captain Bean was spacecraft commander of Skylab Mission II (SL-3), July 29 to September 25, 1973. With him on the 59-day, 24,400,000 mile world record setting flight were scientist-astronaut Dr. Owen K. Garriott and Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Jack R. Lousma. Mission II accomplished 150% of its pre-mission forecast goals.
On his next assignment, Captain Bean was backup spacecraft commander of the United States flight crew for the joint American-Russian Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.
Captain Bean has logged 1,671 hours and 45 minutes in spaceof which 10 hours and 26 minutes were spent in EVAs on the moon and in earth orbit. Captain Bean has flown 27 types of military aircraft as well as many civilian airplanes. He has logged more than 7,145 hours flying time, including 4,890 hours in jet aircraft. Captain Bean retired from the Navy in October 1975 but continued as head of the Astronaut Candidate Operations and Training Group within the Astronaut Office in a civilian capacity.
Bean resigned from NASA in June 1981 to devote his full time to painting. He said his decision was based on the fact that, in his 18 years as an astronaut, he was fortunate enough to visit worlds and see sights no artist's eye, past or present, has ever viewed firsthand and he hopes to express these experiences through the medium of art. He is pursuing this dream at his home and studio in Houston.