Who flew the first mission in the U.S. space shuttle program? July 24, 2020July 24, 2011 by Pamela Landy Captain Robert L. Crippen and John W. Young flew the space shuttle Columbia on its maiden voyage April 12-14, 1981. Related Answers What were the names of the seven crew members killed when the space shuttle Challenger exploded? What is the rest of the nursery rhyme from which Ken Kesey took the title for his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962)? What musical work plays during the space ballet in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)? What are the names of the seven original astronauts in the American space program? Who played “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet”? Who were the characters in the original TV series “Mission: Impossible” (CBS, 1966-73) team?