After completing a four-year tour of duty, he attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. He trained under the direction of Pete Conrad, who would later become Commander of the Apollo 12 moon flight, and who would be instrumental in getting Bean assigned to that mission.
After graduating from the University of Washington, Gordon joined the US Navy, and after his first exposure to planes decided to become a pilot. Gordon said “Once I found what the airplane could do for me, or I could do for it, it was love at first sight.”
At NASA Headquarters, George Mueller and other planners created a far-reaching plan that Administrator Paine made even more ambitious in adapting it for Nixon’s Space Task Group. The task group’s timetable called for a twelve-man space station and a reusable space shuttle as early as 1975. By 1980, the station would have grown into a fifty-man space base; five years later there would be a hundred men in orbit. Meanwhile, there would be a base in lunar orbit by 1976, with a base on the lunar surface two years later. Then, as early as 1981, the first manned expedition to Mars would depart from earth orbit.