NASA’s two astronauts Alan Bean and Don Peterson died last weekend


The last weekend was the saddest weekend for the all space fans as this past weekend the world lost two astronauts. One was the well-known moonwalker and the other was a spacewalker. The fourth man to travel to the moon, Alan Bean died at age 86 on 26th May 2018. He was famous as the Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) and he carried out the Apollo 12 lunar landing mission. However, he was not the first choice for that mission. Clifton Curtis Williams was originally chosen for the flight. But, William died in a T-38 jet trainer misshape and after that Bean was chosen for the Apollo 12 mission from the Apollo Applications Program. It is now the Skylab Space Station.

Talking about the launch event of the Apollo 12, it was an eventful launch. After just lift-off, the Saturn-V rocket was struck by lightning and its telemetry stopped working. However, after that, Bean with the help of NASA engineer John Aaron’s quick thinking developed some command module and he flipped the Signal Conditioning Electronics (SCE) system to it supplementary setting and restored the data flow to the ground centers. That time, the ground staffs were in fear and thought the lighting affected the command module’s parachute the mission proceeds.

If compared to the Apollo 11 mission, the second landing on the moon was really interesting. During that mission, Bean failed to take a timed photo of him and Pete Conrad, the mission commander. Apart from that he also broke a video camera by pointing it toward the Sun but that was an accident. While en-route back to Dick Gordon in the command module, Conrad allowed Bean, the lunar module pilot, too, er, actually pilot the lunar module.

In the end, the mission came out as a huge success and successfully demonstrated near-pinpoint landing accuracy, by landing the rocket within the walking distance from the NASA’s Surveyor 3 Probe. But, while doing reentry, a loose piece of capsule equipment knocked down bean in the capsule.

After the Apollo 2 mission, Bean joined the Apollo Applications Program and in his next mission, he traveled to the Skylab space station that was the second crewed mission to the station. The mission began after the repairs done by the former commander, Pete Conrad.

When he was in the Skylab 3 mission, he spent 59 days in space. After that, he returned to earth and joined as the backup for Apollo’s last hurrah – the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975.

Bean’s career as an astronaut took a strange turn when he left NASA giving a place to new astronauts in the Space Shuttle program. After that, he became a fertile thing. He was just trying to understand the sense of what it was like. He was also seen in The Fantasy, which consisted of the Apollo 12 mission’s all three crew members who have flown to the moon. Dick Gordon, Bean’s crew mate in the Apollo 12 moon mission was chosen for Apollo 18 mission but, he never flew.

Bean’s paintings have some added textures of his lunar boot prints and fragments of his mission patches, and lunar dust. He was seen in many lectures, giving students information about his Apollo mission and insight of his career at NASA. One of the best lectures of his at a Space Lectures event was recorded by Leo Bakker. One should hear see that lecture of Bean. After Bean, there are only four humans left on the Earth who have set their foot on the moon.

Now about Don Peterson, the first space shuttle spacewalker. Peterson passed away just a day after Bean’s death. Peterson who waited for a long time for his first space journey has died at age 84. After resigning from the US Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory program, he joined NASA in 1969.

Initially, he worked as the Apollo 16 support crew then moved to the Space Shuttle Program. His first mission was STS-6, the first launch of the challenger.  In the mission, NASA sent its first Tracking Data and Relay Satellite into Earth’s lower orbit. But, due to an issue in the Inertial Upper Stage of the satellite, it moved in the wrong orbit. Then, scientists moved it to the right geosynchronous location, using spacecraft’s thruster. The satellite then worked perfectly till 2010. In 2010, the satellite removed from its operation and plunged into the graveyard orbit.

His first attempt of the spacewalk was aborted as his spacesuit developed some issues and crew illness, but in the second attempt he himself carried out his first spacewalk from the space shuttle. The spacewalk was for STS-6.  He and Story Musgrave, the mission specialist spend around one hour seventeen minutes in the payload bay for examining the tools and techniques which were used in the later mission. Peterson retired from NASA after waiting a long 15 years for his first space shuttle mission. He was working as an aerospace consultant.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here