Statesville is throwing a welcome home party for Dr. Thomas H. Marshburn, NASA astronaut and Statesville native, who will be visiting his hometown September 22 and 23, 2013.
Mitchell Community College and the City of Statesville are hosting an “evening under the stars” with Marshburn on Sunday, Sept. 22, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on the front lawn of Mitchell’s main campus in Downtown Statesville. This free event will give the community an opportunity to speak with Marshburn personally and hear about his recent five-month trip aboard the International Space Station.
The Mitchell Jazz Band will perform and activities involving rockets, telescopes and other space-related themes will be set up around the College’s Circle. Mitchell’s student clubs will have refreshments for sale. The public is invited to bring their lawn chairs or blankets and celebrate Marshburn’s return home.
On Monday, Sept. 23, Marshburn will visit N.B. Mills Elementary and Statesville High Schools before making his way to the Statesville Civic Center, where he will be the featured speaker at a special luncheon at noon, hosted by the Statesville Chamber of Commerce. The luncheon is open to the public.
Marshburn will also show a video from his December 2012-May 2013 trip in space and talk about the various experiments he and his crew members conducted. During this trip, Marshburn performed an unplanned 5 ½- hour spacewalk to fix an ammonia leak outside the space station.
Reservations for the $15 lunch should be made before Sept. 20 by calling 704-818-3311 or online at www.statesvillechamber.org.
Marshburn returned to his home town in 2009 to celebrate and talk about his first shuttle mission that included 3 spacewalks. While he was here, Statesville enthusiastically titled their City as the official “Hometown of NASA Astronaut Dr. Thomas H. Marshburn”. Many welcome signs around Statesville now include that slogan.
Marshburn was born in Statesville in 1960 and is a graduate of Davidson College and Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He also holds a master’s degree in engineering physics from the University of Virginia and is a certified commercial pilot.
Dr. Marshburn joined NASA in 1994 as a flight surgeon and worked with the joint US/Russian space program. He was selected as an astronaut in 2004 and completed astronaut training in 2006. His first space flight was aboard STS-127 from July 15 to July 31, 2009 as a Mission Specialist. He made three spacewalks during the mission to transfer scientific experiments from the shuttle’s cargo bay to the International Space Station.