Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon and I were assigned by Head Astronaut Deke Slayton as the backup crew for Apollo 9. This was super news because previous rotation indicated we would then fly Apollo 12, and therefore, make one of the first moon landings.The most experienced astronaut was designated Commander, in charge of all aspects of the mission including flying the lunar module. Prudent thinking suggested that the next most experienced crew member be assigned to take care of the command module since it had a heat shield and was our only way back home. This left the least experienced to accompany the Commander on the moonwalk. Pete Conrad had flown two Gemini flights, the second with Dick Gordon as his crewmate.
I had not flown in space at all. During training, Pete and I frequently practiced our lunar surface activities such as emplacing experiments, gathering rock samples and making observations. We were excited. We were going to have the ultimate adventure someone in our profession could experience. But while we did, Dick Gordon would be orbiting 60 miles above us. We often fantasized Dick joining us on the moon, and now that I’m an artist, in my paintings, I can have it my way. At last, our best friend has come the last 60 miles.
Dick was the more experienced astronaut, yet I got the prize assignment. In the three years of training preceding our mission, he never once said, “It’s not fair. I wish I could walk on the moon, too. I do not have his unwavering discipline or strength of character. – AB
Each print has been hand-countersigned by astronauts Charles Conrad Jr. and Richard F. Gordon Jr.
Alan Bean - Conrad, Gordon and Bean the Fantasy
Product Code: BEACO1
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