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    Congressional Space Medal of Honor Crippen Awarded Space Medal of Honor
    Bob Crippen, pilot on the first shuttle mission in 1981, has been honored with the nation's highest award for spaceflight achievement, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
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    STS-1 launches on April 12, 1981

    Early on the morning of April 12, 1981, two astronauts sat strapped into their seats on the flight deck of Columbia, a radically new spacecraft known as the space shuttle.

    John Young, the commander, had already flown in space four times, including a walk on the moon in 1972. Bob Crippen, the pilot, was a Navy test pilot who would go on to command three future shuttle missions. But nothing either man had done or would do was quite like this.

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    1991: 10th Anniversary Coverage
    One of the most comprehensive accounts of Columbia's first flight can be found in this April 1991 edition of NASA's Space News Roundup, including a special article about the orbiter's development titled "The Amazing All-Electric Flying Machine," written by Brian Welch.

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