Sunday, June 7, 2009

NC Native finally gets his flight

On Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, STS-127 Mission Specialists Tom Marshburn, Tim Kopra and Dave Wolf hold onto the slidewire basket as they practice emergency exit procedures.
Image credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
View High Res. HERE.

Jill Michaels
Mooresville Tribune

The patient in spirit shall become the patient in orbit.

After years of doctoring astronauts assigned to space shuttle and space station crews, doctor-turned-astronaut Tom Marshburn will finally get his opportunity to fly in circles around Earth.

The Statesville native will be aboard STS-127 Endeavour when it launches on Saturday.

Marshburn, 49, will reap the best of all worlds: flying on the shuttle, visiting the International Space Station for nearly two weeks, floating with the station's first six-member crew and performing three spacewalks to support space station construction.

"I've always been interested in the space program, ever since I was 6 or 7 years old," Marshburn told the R&L after his crew's pre-flight news conference May 28 in Houston. A book about Apollo 13 by Henry S.F. Cooper titled "Thirteen: The Flight That Failed" sparked his interest.

The youngest of seven children, Marshburn spent part of his childhood near Bost Street and Davie Avenue.

"For 17 years, my father was the preacher at the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church," he said.

The future astronaut moved to Atlanta when he was almost 9 years old.

But he made it clear that he considers Statesville his hometown.

Read the story HERE.