Jeff's Unofficial Alan Bean Page

Portrait of Astronaut Alan L. Bean

Biographical data from the Astronaut Fact Book (Adobe Acrobat format):

Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Born March 15, 1932, in Wheeler, Texas.
Bachelor of science in aeronautical engineering from University of Texas.
Flew on Apollo 12 and Skylab 3.
Cumulative hours of space flight are more than 1671.
Cumulative EVA time is more than 10 hours.

Alan Bean and Apollo 12

Apollo 12 Struck by Lightning
Apollo 12 was struck by lightning 36 seconds after liftoff. All communication was drowned out by static for 26 seconds. The telemetry that Mission Control then received was garbled and astronaut Pete Conrad reported many problems. Flight director Gerald Griffin was ready to abort the mission. John Aaron, the flight controller in charge of the Command and Service Module electrical system (EECOM), had looked into similar trouble with the telemetry that occurred in a test about a year earlier so he understood the problem. Griffin looked to Aaron expecting him to recommend aborting the mission but Aaron said, "Flight, EECOM. Try SCE to Aux." Griffin did not understand this but trusted Aaron so he asked Capcom Jerry Carr to relay the message to the astronauts. Carr did not know about this obscure switch but, trusting the flight controllers, he relayed the message. Alan Bean knew about the Signal Condition Equipment switch and moved it to the auxiliary position. Good telemetry was immediately restored. The astronauts reset some other things and Apollo 12 went on to the moon!
Read more about this in the book, "Apollo, the Race to the Moon" by Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox or read about it here.

Apollo 12 Achieves a Pinpoint Landing
Until the mission of Apollo 12, no one knew how to land at a precise location on the moon. (Apollo 11 landed more than four miles off target.) The story of how this problem was solved is told in the book, "Apollo, the Race to the Moon" by Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox. Apollo 12's target was next to the Surveyor 3, an unmanned probe that had soft-landed on the moon three years earlier. Alan Bean and Pete Conrad brought back the television camera from Surveyor 3. This camera is now on display at the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC (look for "The Tools of Planetary Exploration" in the exhibit "Exploring the Planets").

Views of the Solar System has a history section with a great account of Apollo 12.

The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal has an in depth section on Apollo 12.

See a incredible image of astronaut Alan Bean retrieving the Surveyor 3 camera on the moon. (Note the lunar module in the background.)

Here are many Apollo 12 pictures.

The Apollo 12 spacecraft may be seen at the Virginia Air and Space Center (NASA Langley visitor's center), Hampton, VA.

Alan Bean and Skylab 3

Alan Bean spent 59 days, 11 hours in space during his mission on Skylab 3.

Andrew Chaikin, in his book "A Man on the Moon", wrote that Alan Bean's Skylab crew (the second crew) was so productive "that it was only halfway through the next Skylab mission that mission control stopped thinking there was something wrong with the third crew, whose performance was closer to normal."

Here is a Skylab 3 web site.

See a view of the Skylab space station cluster.

See a view of the Skylab space station cluster as seen by the crew of Skylab 4.

Astronaut Alan Bean shaves while aboard Skylab.

Astronaut Owen Garriott trims hair of astronaut Alan Bean while aboard Skylab.

Astronaut Alan Bean doing acrobatics in the Skylab Orbital Workshop dome area.

Skylab 2 astronaut Charles Conrad undergoing a dental examination by the Medical Officer, astronaut Joseph Kerwin in the Skylab Medical Facility.

Here are many Skylab 3 pictures.

The Skylab 3 spacecraft may be seen at the NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, OH.

(email: Jeff Stetekluh)