Born September 23, 1961 in San Diego, California. He received a bachelor of science degree in applied science from the US Naval Academy in 1983, a master of science degree in computer science from the University of Maryland in 1985, and a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the US Naval Postgraduate School in 1992. McCool accumulated over 2,800 hours flight experience in 24 aircraft and over 400 carrier arrestments. McCool was the pilot on the Columbia mission (Jan. 16 to Feb. 1, 2003). The 16-day flight was a dedicated science and research mission. Working 24 hours a day, in two alternating shifts, the crew successfully conducted approximately 80 experiments. The STS-107 mission ended abruptly on February 1, 2003 when Space Shuttle Columbia and the crew perished during entry, 16 minutes before scheduled landing.