NASA Crew Dragon Pilot Tom Marshburn ’82 Returns From Third Space Mission
Astronaut Tom Marshburn, a 1982 Davidson alum and Pilot of the Crew Dragon “Endurance,” returned to earth with three fellow crew members today, a little after midnight. They spent 177 days in space and conducted five spacewalks, along with a host of experiments around disease and infection, growing plants without soil and effects of long-duration spaceflight.
Barron, Chari, Marshburn, and Maurer, returned to Earth in a parachute-assisted splashdown in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft Endurance at 12:43 a.m. Friday, May 6, off the coast of Florida. After returning to shore, the astronauts flew back to Houston, where they were greeted by their families and colleagues.
Crew-3 astronauts traveled 75,060,792 miles during their 177 days in orbit (175 of which were spent aboard the International Space Station). They completed 2,832 orbits around Earth. During their science expedition aboard the orbiting laboratory, the Crew-3 astronauts conducted experiments, including a study on concrete hardening in microgravity, research on cotton varieties that could help develop drought-resistant plants, and executed a space archaeology study that could provide information that contributes to the design of future space habitats.
They tested new life support technology, installed new combustion research hardware, and talked to thousands of students during dozens of amateur radiocontacts. Working in pairs, the astronauts also completed four spacewalks to prepare the station for upcoming solar array upgrades by assembling and installing modification kits and successfully replacing a faulty antenna on the Port-1 truss structure.
This was the third flight of a NASA-certified commercial human spacecraft flown as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, and the fourth crewed flight to the space station aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.