One of North Carolina’s own will be heading back into space next year. On Monday, it was announced that Statesville native Dr. Thomas H. Marshburn would be the pilot of a NASA-SpaceX commercial mission to the International Space Station. The mission is expected to take place in the fall of 2021.
This will be Marshburn’s third mission to the ISS. He previously made trips into space in 2009 and 2013. He’s spent a total of five months stationed in the ISS and completed three spacewalks.
Marshburn joined NASA in 1994 to work as a flight surgeon. Ten years later, he was selected as an astronaut and completed his training in 2006. His experience will be valuable to his crew as both of his crewmates, Raja Chari and Matthias Maurer, will be making their first trips into space. A fourth crew member will be named later.
This flight will be the third rotation mission in SpaceX’s human space transportation system. The goal of the program, according to NASA, is to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective crew access to the ISS.
In honor of Marshburn, many of the welcome signs around Statesville now include the slogan “Hometown of NASA Astronaut Dr. Thomas Marshburn.”