Pilot of the first Space Shuttle orbital test flight, the Space Shuttle Columbia's STS-1 mission. He later commanded 1983 and 1984 flights on the Space Shuttle Challenger.
He was a pilot in the United States Navy.
He took part in the first satellite repair mission.
He married Pandora Puckett and had three children.
He commanded the first five-person crew, which included the first woman in space, Sally Ride.