Robert Crippen became a NASA astronaut in September 1969. He was a member of the astronaut support crew for the Skylab 2, 3, and 4 missions and for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission. He was the pilot of the first orbital test flight of the Shuttle Program (STS-1, April 12-14, 1981) and was the commander of three additional shuttle flights: STS-7, June 18-24, 1983; STS-41C, April 6-13, 1984; and STS-41G, October 6-13, 1984.
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Robert Crippen and John Young became the first humans to fly a space shuttle into orbit when Columbia launched on April 12, 1981.