Parents of Columbia Pilot Recall Crash

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Pieces of space shuttle Columbia break apart over North Texas, Feb. 1, 2003.

    One morning nearly 10 years ago, Barry McCool remembers watching his son's space shuttle fly more than 40 miles above his Las Vegas home.

    He went inside to watch a live computer feed from Houston, home of NASA's Mission Control. But Columbia never landed in Florida on Feb. 1, 2003.

    The shuttle piloted by his son William McCool, who attended high school in Lubbock, disintegrated high over Texas during its descent back to Earth. All seven crew members died.

    The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports that Barry McCool knew something was wrong when he heard Houston officials say they'd lost infrared radar contact with Columbia.

    McCool says he got a sickening feeling in his stomach when he saw the flight director's expression.

    McCool then told his wife, "Willie's gone."