Alan Bean] [NASA Logo]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data

NAME: Alan L. Bean (Captain, USN, Ret.)
NASA Astronaut

Born in Wheeler, Texas, on March 15, 1932. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Arnold H. Bean, reside in his hometown, Fort Worth, Texas.

Brown hair, hazel eyes; height: 5 feet 9-1/2 inches; weight: 155 pounds.

Graduated from Paschal High School in Fort Worth, Texas; received a bachelor of science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Texas in 1955; awarded an honorary doctorate of science from Texas Wesleyan College in 1972; presented an honorary doctorate of Engineering Science degree from the University of Akron (Ohio) in 1974.


Clay A., December 18, 1955; Amy Sue, January 21, 1963.


Fellow of the American Astronautical Society; member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

Holder of 11 world records in space and astronautics; awarded two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, the Navy Astronaut Wings and two Navy Distinguished Service Medals; recipient of the Rear Admiral William S. Parsons Award for Scientific and Technical Progress, the University of Texas Distinguished Alumnus Award and Distinguished Engineering Graduate Award, the Godfrey L. Cabot Award, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Trustees Award, the Texas Press Association's Man of the Year Award for 1969, the City of Chicago Gold Medal, the Robert J. Collier Trophy for 1973, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale's Yuri Gagarin Gold Medal for 1973, the V. M. Komarov Diploma for 1973 (1974), the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy for 1975, the AIAA Octave Chanute Award for 1975, and the AAS Flight Achievement Award for 1974 (1975).

Alan Bean, a Navy ROTC Student at Texas, was commissioned upon graduation in 1955. After completing flight training, he was assigned to a jet attack squadron in Jacksonville, Florida. After a four-year tour of duty, he attended the Navy Test Pilot School, then as a test pilot flew several types of naval aircraft.

Alan Bean was one of the third group of astronauts named by NASA in October1963. 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 28 - 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 Lt. Colonel Jack R. Lousma. Mission II accomplished 150% of its premission 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 space, of 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 has been 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.


Click here to return to the SPACE EDUCATORS' HANDBOOK HOME PAGE.