Ex-Astronaut Bean, In Appollo 12 Mission Dies At 86

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.

In later life he became an accomplished artist, producing paintings that were inspired by space.

Hi family said he had fallen ill and died peacefully at a hospital in Houston.

Astronaut Mike Massimino described Bean as “the most extraordinary person I ever met”.

“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.

Alan Bean, a former US Navy test pilot, was selected by Nasa as a trainee in 1963.

He went into space twice, the first time in November 1969 as the lunar module pilot on the Apollo 12 moon-landing mission.

In 1973 he was commander of the second crewed flight to Skylab – America’s first space station.

He retired from Nasa in 1981 and carved a successful career as an artist. 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.

The three astronauts who preceded Alan Bean to the moon’s surface were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11 in July 1969, and Charles Conrad who was also on the Apollo 12 mission.

Of the four men, only Aldrin is still alive, now aged 88.