How to Pilot the Hottest Ship in the Skies

As commander of Apollo 16, John Young was walking on the moon on April 21, 1972, when Mission Control radioed the good news: the U.S. House of Representatives had just approved funding for a space shuttle program. Looking like a great panda in his space suit, Young jumped up and down and then saluted the American flag freshly staked into the moon. Proclaimed Young as millions of TV viewers looked on: "The country needs that shuttle mighty bad."

Today, nearly nine years later, Young, now 50, is ready to command the Columbia space shuttle on its maiden voyage, scheduled for March....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!