Apollo Moonwalker Alan Bean dies at 86 after illness

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Bean returned to space in 1973, as the commander of NASA's second crewed flight to the U.S.' first space station, Skylab. According to Bean's official NASA biography, Mission II "accomplished 150 percent of its pre-mission forecast goals".

"When Alan's third career as the artist of Apollo moved forward, he would call me to ask about some detail about lunar soil, color or equipment he wanted to have represented exactly in a painting".

After retiring from the Navy in 1975 and NASA in 1981, respectively, Bean became an artist and focused his energy on painting artistic impressions of the moon landing.

Bean was a Navy test pilot before being selected to become an astronaut in 1963.

"I think I would like to be remembered in the end as an astronaut and an artist", Bean told People.

In order to mark the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing in 2009, Bean displayed his paintings of lunar scenes at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

In 1973, he commanded the second crewed flight to the first USA space station, orbiting the Earth for 59 days and travelling 24.4 million miles - one of 11 world records he set in the fields of space and aeronautics.

American astronaut and moonwalker-turned-painter Alan Bean has died.

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After his Apollo mission, Bean commanded the second crewed mission the first United States space station, Skylab, in 1973, during which he orbited the earth for 59 days.

With his passing, only four of the twelve men who have walked on the moon are still alive - Buzz Aldrin, Dave Scott, Charlie Duke and Harrison Schmitt.

"Alan Bean was the most extraordinary person I ever met", astronaut Mike Massimino, who flew on two space shuttle missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope, said in a statement.

Bean was born in Wheeler, Texas, in 1932 and educated at the University of Texas - graduating in 1955.

He said: "I think a lot of it just had to do with it looked exciting". From left are Lunar Module Pilot Alan Bean; Command Module Pilot Richard Gordon and Commander Charles Conrad.

"Retired astronaut Clayton Anderson tweeted "#RIP Alan Bean.

Four years later, Bean returned to space as commander of the second mission to the Skylab orbiting space station.

Bean is survived by his wife Leslie, his sister Paula Stott, and two children, Amy Sue and Clay.