NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn pays visit to hometown via Skype
Astronaut Thomas Marshburn visits with local residents via Skype on Tuesday.
BY BRANDY TEMPLETON
Statesville native and NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn was a guest speaker at the Iredell Public Library on Tuesday, sharing information about his adventures in space via Skype.
Marshburn, who was born in Statesville and lived here until age 9, enthusiastically greeted the crowd and answered their questions.
Mayor Costi Kutteh described Marshburn as “a prince,” and former Pressly Elementary schoolmate Michele Coleman said he’s a “down-to-earth person” who will speak to anyone on the street.
Marshburn explained how he became an astronaut, saying that he knew early on that’s what he wanted to do.
After majoring in physics at Davidson College, Marshburn went to medical school and became a physician. He then took a job as a flight surgeon at NASA and was excited in 2004 to get a call confirming he’d been accepted to the program.
“It was kinda like Christmas Eve,” Marshburn said. “I was incredibly excited, but it was a long process.”
During his career, he’s made two trips to space and completed four space walks. While in space, Marshburn works 16-hour days and spends his time fixing things, Skyping, conducting experiments, and exercising.
He offered some tips to future astronauts in the audience, suggesting they work hard in school, keep their bodies healthy, be kind, and be flexible.
“Start being an astronaut right now,” he said.
The program was part of the library's summer reading program, “A Universe of Stories.”