Whatever Happened to the Apollo 12 Astronauts?
Pete Conrad: Commander of Apollo 12 and the third man to walk on the Moon. He set an eight-day space endurance record along with command pilot Gordon Cooper on the Gemini 5 mission in 1965, and commanded the Gemini 11 mission in 1966.
He was a something of a joker and his words when he set foot on the Moon were: “Whoopee! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that’s a long one for me.“.
After Apollo, he commanded the Skylab 2 mission, on which he and his crew repaired significant launch damage to the Skylab space station.
Conrad retired from NASA and the Navy in 1973, and went to work for American Television and Communications Company. He worked for McDonnell Douglas from 1976 into the 1990s. After an engine fell off a McDonnell-Douglas DC-10 causing it to crash with the loss of all passengers and crew in 1979, Conrad spearheaded McDonnell-Douglas’s ultimately unsuccessful efforts to allay the fears of the public and policymakers, and save the plane’s reputation.
Conrad died on July 8, 1999, less than three weeks before the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the first moon landing following a motorcycle crash. His injuries were first thought to be minor, but he died from internal bleeding about six hours later.
Alan Bean: Bean’s first flight was aboard Apollo 12 as Lunar Module pilot. Bean was also the spacecraft commander of Skylab 3, the second manned mission to Skylab in 1973.
He retired from the Navy in October 1975 as a Captain but continued as head of the Astronaut Candidate Operations and Training Group within the Astronaut Office in a civilian capacity. Bean resigned from NASA in June 1981 to devote his full time to painting.
Many of his paintings reside on the walls of space enthusiasts. Bean’s paintings include “Lunar Grand Prix” and “Rock and Roll on the Ocean of Storms”. He is the only artist in the world to use real Moon dust on his paintings. He wrote the book My Life As An Astronaut in 1989 and two books with Andrew Chaikin – Apollo: An Eyewitness Account in 1998 and Mission Control, This is Apollo: The Story of the First Voyages to the Moon in 2009. Age: 80.
Richard F. Gordon, Jr.: He was the Command Module pilot for Apollo 12, so he stayed in lunar orbit while Pete Conrad and Alan Bean descended to the lunar surface.
His first mission was as Commander of Gemini 11 in 1966.
He was slated to walk on the Moon as commander of Apollo 18, but the mission was cancelled due to budget cuts. Gordon retired from NASA and the U.S. Navy in January 1972. After leaving NASA he took up a number of managerial roles in various companies. Age: 83.
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