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Alan Bean - Way Way Up High Over Pad 39A -  LIMITED EDITION CANVAS Published by the Greenwich Workshop


          Way Way Up High Over Pad 39A
by Alan Bean

$345.00

LIMITED EDITION CANVAS
Limited Edition of: 95
Image Size: 20"w x 16"h.
Published: May 2013


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Well, here we are, seeing our first Earthrise ever! It is hard to believe Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon and I are 235,189 miles from home. We had lifted off from launch complex 39, Pad A, Cape Kennedy, Florida in the middle of a violent thunderstorm, just three and one half days ago and there are at least two very excellent reasons why it does not seem possible we have come this far, this fast.

The first excellent reason is that we were traveling at speeds that are difficult for most humans, including us, to really grasp. For example, after a brief eleven-minute rocket ride, we were in Earth orbit traveling at 17,431 miles per hour. That is about 290 times faster than the 60 miles per hour speed limit we drive our cars here on Earth. Pete, Dick and I had been navy test pilots and flew high performance aircraft at high mach numbers from time to time, but mostly we flew around at about 500 miles per hour or so. Now, that is nothing to complain about, yet it is only one thirty-fifth of our Earth orbital speed.

But to fly to the Moon, we had to start up our launch rocket’s third stage again to add significant velocity. To be precise, we had to get going 6,719 miles per hour faster. This initial velocity, some 24,150 miles per hour, would allow us to coast to a point close enough to the Moon so the Moon’s gravity would become dominant and we would begin to fall towards the Moon rather than back to Earth.

The second excellent reason is that there were no sign posts along the way. As we sped along, we did not zip past any cities, towns, clouds, other spaceships, or anything else, for that matter. Except for the first few hours after leaving Earth orbit, the Earth did not seem to move away or get smaller, and the Moon did not seem to move toward us or get larger. If we waited an hour or so and looked out again, the Earth would look smaller . . . maybe, and the Moon would look larger . . . maybe.

What a view! To think everyone I ever knew, saw on television or at the super bowl, was down there on the skin of that beautiful, colorful sphere. It does not seem possible. There is just not enough room and folks on the bottom will surely fall off.

I find it curious that I never heard any astronaut say that he wanted to go to the Moon so he would be able to look back and see the Earth. We all wanted to see what the Moon looked like close up. Yet, for most of us, the most memorable sight was not of the Moon, but of our beautiful blue and white home, moving majestically around the sun, all alone in infinite black space.


Alan Bean
Twelve people have walked on the moon. Only one was an explorer artist, Alan Bean—Apollo XII astronaut, commander of Skylab II and artist. Born in 1932 in Wheeler, Texas and in 1950, Alan was selected for an NROTC scholarship at the University of Texas at Austin. Alan was commissioned an ensign in the United States Navy in 1955. Holder of eleven world records in space and astronautics, Alan Bean has had a most distinguished peacetime career. His awards include two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, the Yuri Gagarin Gold Medal and the Robert J. Collier Trophy. As part of the Apollo XII crew, he became the fourth of only twelve men ever to walk on the Moon. As the spacecraft commander of Skylab Mission II, he set a world record: 24,400,000 miles traveled during the 59-day flight. When he wasn’t flying, Bean always enjoyed painting as a hobby. Attending night classes at St. Mary’s College in Maryland in 1962, Alan experimented with landscapes. During training and between missions as a test pilot and astronaut, he continued private art lessons. On space voyages, his artist’s eye and talent enabled him to document impressions of the Moon and space to be preserved later on canvas. A voracious student, Alan began to immerse himself in polishing his talent with the same intensity he gave to his astronaut training. Inspired by the impressionists and studying under contemporary masters, he is a first-rate artist who is as comfortable rendering sharp realism as he is with portraying subtle emotions through a faceless spacesuit— but there's a bonus: As the only artist who has visited another world, Bean paints with an authenticity and insight completely unique in the entire history of art by creating a palette mirroring his artistic eye. His is a personal portfolio of the golden era of space exploration as viewed by the only artist who has BEEN there. His art reflects the attention to detail of the aeronautical engineer, the respect for the unknown of the astronaut and the unabashed appreciation of a skilled explorer artist. The space program has seen unprecedented achievements and Bean realized that most of those who participated actively in this adventure would be gone in forty years. He knew that if any credible artistic impressions were to remain for future generations, he must paint them now. “My decision to resign from NASA in 1981 was based on the fact that I am fortunate enough to have seen sights no other artist ever has,” Bean said, “and I hope to communicate these experiences through art.” He is pursuing this dream at his home and studio in Houston. Bean’s book, Apollo: An Eyewitness Account, which chronicles his first-person experience as an Apollo astronaut and explorer artist in words and paintings, was received with critical and popular acclaim upon its publication in 1998.

 

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