Spaceflight Insider

Alan Bean, Don Peterson remembered at ceremony at Kennedy Space Center

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Two astronauts who passed away in recent days were the subject of a memorial held at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Many colleagues paid their respects to Alan Bean and Don Peterson each of whom added their own legacies to space flight history.

Several notable speakers were present during both ceremonies, they include, but were not limited to – Therrin Protze the chief operating officer of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and former astronaut and the current director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Robert Cabana.

“Don’s first flight was the maiden voyage of Challenger on STS-6. That was the first shuttle spacewalk, he and Story Musgrave tested out the new suits and made sure we can operate in space… So Don and Story set the standard for how we built the International Space Station,” Cabana said. “Don’s family remembers him as being a kind and gentle spirit, almost more than being an astronaut, that’s how I’d like to be remembered… I want to be remembered as being a good man.”

Alan Bean was the Lunar Module Pilot on the Apollo 12 mission that saw Bean and the mission’s commander, Pete Conrad touch down on the Ocean of Storms in late 1969. Bean passed away on May 26, 2018.

Behind the podium where speakers shared their thoughts on Bean’s legacy – one of the astronaut-turned-artist’s paintings was on prominent display.

The Visitor Complex held Bean’s Remembrance Ceremony at 11 a.m. EDT at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. The massive rocket located there was slated to be a key component of the cancelled Apollo 18 mission which would have been commanded by Richard Gordon – the Command Module Pilot – of Apollo 12 (who passed away on Nov. 6, 2017). 

A release issued by the Visitor Complex provided the following information on Bean:

Alan Bean, a member of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, was selected to join NASA’s third astronaut class in 1963. Captain Bean was the fourth person to walk on the Moon, and went on to become the commander of the second crewed flight to Skylab. He retired from the Navy in October 1975, but continued as head of the Astronaut Candidate Operations and Training Group within the Astronaut Office. Throughout his career, Bean helped establish 11 world records in space and astronautics, was awarded two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, the Navy Astronaut Wings and was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1997. He passed away on May 26, 2018 at the age of 86.

Don Peterson was a Mission Specialist on the STS-6 mission aboard Space Shuttle Challenger, which was launched on April 4, 1983. He passed away on May 27, 2018. The ceremony remembering Peterson was held at the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit and begin at 12:15 p.m. EDT.

Don Peterson became a NASA astronaut in 1969. During the maiden voyage of Challenger, he was the first astronaut to perform a spacewalk from the shuttle. Peterson also conducted numerous experiments and deployed the first Tracking and Data Relay Satellite during this flight. After resigning from the Astronaut Office in 1984, he worked as a consultant in the area of manned aerospace operations. Peterson’s honors include the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Johnson Space Center Group Achievement Award. He passed away on May 27, 2018 at the age of 84.

“A loss to our country, we are better off because of Don. He certainly set the standard for extravehicular activity, the first shuttle Spacewalk,” Cabana continued.


Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

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