Statesville, NC

Statesville native Marshburn set to launch into space again

Kim McKinney

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SpaceX-Crew 3Photo by SpaceX

Statesville native Dr. Thomas (Tom) Marshburn is getting ready to set out on another adventure in space as the pilot of the SpaceX-Crew 3 mission to the International Space Station.

Marshburn will be the veteran of the four-man crew, on his third trip into space. He will be joined by two other NASA astronauts – Mission Commander Raja Chari and Mission Specialist Kayla Barron - along with European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer, who will also serve as Mission Specialist. This will be the first trip into space for Chari, Barron, and Maurer.

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Endurance at the launch padPhoto by NASA

They will take off in Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft attached to a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. They are currently expected to launch Saturday, November 10 at 9:03 p.m EDT. (That launch time is subject to change if conditions are not right.)

The Crew-3 team was allowed to name the Crew Dragon and decided on Endurance. The name represents the tenacity of the human spirit to push farther towards the potential for missions in space, but also acknowledges the work of the development team through the pandemic and those who will continue to fly long duration missions.

"Just got mail from @Astro_Sabot in space! Our spacesuits are waiting for us onboard @Space_Station and Expedition 66 is ready for #Crew3!" - Thomas H. Marshburn on Twitter (@AstroMarshburn)

The crew should dock at the space station at 11 p.m. on November 3 and open the hatch at 12:35 a.m. on November 4. Their mission is set for six months, with the expected return date to be late April 2022.

Marshburn was born in Statesville and lived there until he was nine years old. His parents were the Reverend Robert and Gladys Marshburn. Rev. Marshburn was the pastor of First A.RP. Church from 1950-1969. Tom was their seventh child.

Marshburn graduated from Davidson College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and earned a Masters in Engineering Physics from the University of Virginia. He then graduated from medical school at Wake Forest University and received a Masters in Medical Science from the University of Texas Medical Branch. He was certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine and worked as an emergency medicine physician.

Marshburn also has his private, instrument, aerobatic and commercial pilot’s licenses.

He joined NASA in 1994 and worked in Shuttle Medical Operations until he was chosen to train as an astronaut in 2004. It was his third attempt to enter the program. Dr. Marshburn finished astronaut candidate training in 2006.

His first venture into space was July 15 through July 31, 2009, on the Endeavor. The mission had a record 13 astronauts working aboard the station representing all five International Partners - NASA, the Russian Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, the European Space Agency and the Japanese Space Agency. Marshburn performed three spacewalks for a total of 18 hours and 59 minutes.

His second mission was December 19, 2012 to May 14, 2013, aboard Soyuz TMA-07M from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Marshburn performed another 5 1/2 hour space walk on this mission. To get an idea of what it was like to be on a mission like this, check out this speech Dr. Marshburn made at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum just two months after his return from his second mission. He gives tremendous insight into what space station life is like.

During the talk Marshburn discusses the changes astronauts experience in vision in space, which is one area they will do experiments on during this new mission.

Marshburn has been back to Statesville several times to share his experience with both the adults and children of Statesville. Statesville is quite proud of his accomplishments. Many of the ""Welcome to Statesville" signs state his connection to the city.

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Photo by Kim McKinney

The year Marshburn's family moved from Statesville to his dad's next church in Georgia was the summer Apollo 11 landed on the moon. It was a time the dream of space travel became a reality. It was just before Marshburn's ninth birthday. If all proceeds as expected this week, Marshburn will experience that dream in real life for the third time this week.

People all over the world will be watching their launch into space and this time Marshburn will be driving. You can watch along at the NASA website. NASA also has a Virtual Guest program if you want to have more fun along the way.

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I love stories of people and places and enjoy telling these stories. I live in my hometown of Statesville, NC, in the Charlotte area, and love to show how lovely life is here. More is going on than may meet the eye. I also enjoy expanding throughout North Carolina to show the places and activities and people that make me believe life is fascinating and travel as much as I can, so write about that, too. I also have a passion for justice and a special interest in accessible healthcare, including treatment for drug and alcohol dependency. I am a woman of faith, joy, laughter, adventure, and live life to the full. Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/kimmckinney719 or my blog KimberleyMcKinney.com or https://kimmckinney719.medium.com.

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