Press "Enter" to skip to content

NASA announces veteran astronaut Tom Marshburn to retire after 18 years and 5 spacewalks

WASHINGTON – After 28 years with NASA, including 18 years as an astronaut, veteran spacewalker and flight surgeon Tom Marshburn is retiring. On Saturday, December 31, he will leave the organisation.

Marshburn spent 337 days in space, made three trips to the International Space Station on separate ships (the space shuttle, the Soyuz, and the SpaceX Crew Dragon), and engaged in five spacewalks across his three spaceflights.

The Statesville, North Carolina, native most recently flew NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission, the third lengthy voyage for the Crew Dragon spacecraft, to the space station. Marshburn and his Expedition 66/67 crewmates conducted more than 250 scientific studies during the voyage with the goal of advancing humankind as a whole and advancing future exploration.

Various plant development experiments were conducted by astronauts during the Crew-3 mission, including testing novel crop-growing techniques and researching cotton plants that may be drought-resistant. They also tested a small scanning electron microscope and a handheld bioprinter that can manufacture bandages straight from skin cells onto a lesion. The crew also carried out one of the first archaeological experiments ever undertaken in space and installed a new equipment to enhance research on fire safety in microgravity. Marshburn also participated in a spacewalk to repair a malfunctioning antenna on the Port-1 truss.

In February 2006, Dr. Marshburn finished his training to be an astronaut candidate. 2009 saw his maiden space mission on the shuttle Endeavour. Highlights of the 15-day STS-127 mission to the station included the arrival of the Experiment Logistics Module-Exposed Section and the Japanese-built Exposed Facility, as well as the participation of a record 13 astronauts from the station’s five foreign partner agencies. On the mission, he made three spacewalks. A Soyuz spacecraft carried him into orbit for the second time in December 2012. He spent more than 146 days in space on his first extended mission, Expedition 34/35, and made an emergency spacewalk for five hours and thirty minutes to replace an ammonia pump.