Astronaut Tom Marshburn

uniphi Space Agency

Astronaut Tom Marshburn

Astronaut, NASA Flight Surgeon, Emergency Medicine Physician

Tom Marshburn, MD, is an Emergency Medicine physician and NASA astronaut. He is a veteran of three spaceflights to the International Space Station, and is one of the few humans in history to have flown on three different spacecraft, flying missions on the Space Shuttle, the Russian Soyuz, and the SpaceX Crew Dragon.

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Speaking Topics

  • Spaceflight
  • Medicine in extreme environments
  • Adventure
  • Perseverance
  • Facing one’s fears
  • Teamwork in the face of extreme challenges


Dr. Marshburn was born in Statesville, NC, on Aug 29, 1960. The last of seven siblings, he was determined to strike out on a different path and not follow his siblings into medicine. While attending Davidson College, where he ultimately earned a bachelors degree in Physics, Tom embarked on a 6 month journey along the Pacific Crest Trail, backpacking from Canada to Mexico almost entirely on his own. Successfully completing the trail and his undergraduate education, Tom continued to pursue his love of physics, earning a masters degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Virginia.

It was then that he discovered he shared his siblings’ passion for medicine. He attended medical school at Wake Forest University, then completed his residency in Emergency Medicine in Toledo, OH, where he served as a Life Flight physician, treating critically ill patients in the field and transporting them to the hospital. Shortly thereafter, he was accepted into the inaugural class of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston’s Space Medicine Fellowship. Upon completion of the fellowship, Dr. Marshburn became a NASA flight surgeon, providing medical care to astronauts. During his time as a flight surgeon, Tom was assigned to the NASA-Mir program, with many extended tours of duty in Russia, ultimately becoming fluent in Russian. From Russian Mission Control he cared for the crews that experienced both the harrowing fire and the spacecraft collision that occurred aboard the Russian Mir Space Station, two of the worst disasters ever to occur aboard manned spacecraft in orbit. For this work he was awarded both the NASA and the Lyndon B. Johnson Superior Achievement Awards.

After ten years as a flight surgeon, in 2004 Dr. Marshburn was asked to join the NASA astronaut corps. Following his initial astronaut candidate training, he was assigned as a mission specialist to STS-127, a 16-day mission on the space shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station. During the mission, Tom performed three spacewalks, installing an experimental platform on the Japanese module of the station, and exchanging multiple industrial batteries essential to supplying power to the space station.

In 2010, he was assigned to fly as a flight engineer on the Russian Soyuz. He spent a large part of the next two years in Star City outside Moscow, learning spacecraft systems in Russian for his flight. He launched on the Soyuz in December 2012, spending five months living and working aboard the international space station as a member of Expeditions 34 and 35. Just three days prior to returning to Earth, Tom and his crew mate, American astronaut Chris Cassidy, undertook an emergency spacewalk to repair a dangerous ammonia leak threatening the space station. Only 36 hours from the moment the crew discovered the ammonia leak, Tom and Chris opened the hatch of the airlock to begin their spacewalk, a process that usually requires weeks of preparation. This remains an American record for shortest preparation time for a spacewalk.

Upon his return to Earth, Dr. Marshburn was assigned as Deputy Chief to create a Division within the Johnson Space Center, leading the 135 engineers and astronauts of the new Integration Division within the Flight Operations Directorate, while awaiting his next flight assignment. In 2021, that assignment came, and Tom launched as the pilot of Crew 3 on SpaceX’s Dragon Endurance on Nov 10, 2021, joining the crew of Expedition 66. He became the Commander of Expedition 67 in March 2022, and was the first American to participate in the exchange of command of the space station with Russian cosmonauts during the Russia-Ukraine conflict. During his time as Commander, Tom lead the crew of the international space station as they welcomed the Axiom-1 crew, the first time a private astronaut crew came aboard the ISS. After this six-month mission, Dr. Marshburn returned again to Earth in May 2022.

Overall, Tom has spent over 337 days in space, and has conducted 5 spacewalks. He holds both private and commercial pilot licenses, with instrument and aerobatics ratings. He has logged over 1000 hours in NASA’s T-38 cockpit. Tom loves sharing his love for spaceflight, medicine, exploration and STEM with everyone. His enthusiasm and curiosity is infectious, enrapturing audiences, motivating them to push their own boundaries, instilling the belief that the sky is never the limit.