STS-1: 'A test pilot's dream': Columbia astronaut recalls first shuttle flight on 25th anniversary

Veteran commander John Young and his rookie pilot Robert Crippen faced a lot of uncertainties April 12, 1981, as they waited for the space shuttle Columbia to lift off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Flight Center. —STS-1: ‘A test pilot’s dream': Columbia astronaut recalls first shuttle flight on 25th anniversary (CNN)

When my class was watching the launch live on TV in the classroom, and the countdown approached zero, my “friend” came up behind me and put his hands over my eyes.