Co-chair, Medical Operations Working Group, NASA
Tom Marshburn was a NASA co-chair for the Medical Operations Working Group. This group was responsible for defining health care systems requirements in support of astronauts and cosmonauts involved in cooperative missions. He was also the NASA flight surgeon for the NASA-4, Linenger Increment.
As a flight surgeon, he accompanied Linenger to his training in Star City, Russia, where he was available to provide necessary medical care. He also acted as an occupational safety officer during Jerry Linenger's training. Additionally, Marshburn was on console in the TsUp (Russian mission control center) during Linenger's stay on Mir. He was essential in providing information directly to Linenger. In his Oral History, Marshburn spoke about the challenges encountered while trying to communicate with the U.S. astronaut while he was on the Russian space station:
"Jerry's [Linenger] mission was unique in that the comm became so bad; there was very limited time that we could talk as events unfurled in NASA-4, and the antenna for the satellite went out due to some heat and cooling problems. So we had very limited comm, it was often very ratty, and Jerry suggested and we went ahead and tried to do all of our communication by email using the packet system.
"So we had no voice communication with him for quite a while, for about two months. We'd hear his voice coming down on the Russian loop, and we would have a chance to say a few words to him, but the standard comm, for about two months, we didn't have. I think that was very unique."
Prior to his NASA career, Marshburn was an emergency services physician in Seattle.
Thomas Marshburn Oral History (PDF)
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