William McCool's mother doesn't want her son to have died in vain.

Audrey McCool, whose 41-year-old son William was the shuttle's pilot, said space flight must continue despite the accident that killed her son and six others.

McCool was a Navy commander from Lubbock, Texas. He graduated second in his 1983 class at the Naval Academy, went on to test pilot school and became an astronaut in 1996.

This was the first spaceflight for McCool, who was married with three sons.

McCool was born in San Diego, Calif. He enjoyed running, mountain biking, back country hiking/camping, swimming, playing guitar and chess.

McCool graduated from Coronado High School in Lubbock in 1979.