This 1981 home movie captures the Parish family on a visit to the Houston Zoo, where they see camels, zebras, elephants, and jaguars. Back in Beaumont, the family attends a parade honoring NASA astronaut Robert Crippen upon the completion of the first Space Shuttle mission. Crippen, a Beaumont native, served as pilot alongside mission commander John Young. The Space Shuttle Columbia launched on April 12, 1981, and returned two days later after orbiting Earth 36 times. STS-1 was the first American manned space flight since 1975.
NASA astronaut Robert Crippen was born on September 11, 1937, in Beaumont, Texas. He studied aerospace engineering at the University of Texas at Austin before joining the US Navy's Aviation Officer Candidate School. Following two years as a Naval Aviator, Crippen attended the US Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School. In 1966, the Air Force picked him to join its Manned Orbiting Laboratory spaceflight program.
Following the cancellation of the MOL program in 1969, Crippen began his career with NASA. He flew four space missions: as Pilot for STS-1 in April 1981, the first orbital test flight of the Space Shuttle program, and as Commander for STS-7 in June 1983, STS-41-C in April 1984, and STS-41-G in October 1984. In total, he logged 23 days, 13 hours, and 46 minutes in space.
Crippen remained with NASA following his space missions, becoming Space Shuttle Director at NASA Headquarters in 1990 and Director of John F. Kennedy Space Center in 1992. He left NASA in 1995, but maintained his ties to the space program, first as a vice president with the Lockheed Martin Information Systems Company and later as president of Thiokol Propulsion.