ATLANTA -- A graduate from Henderson High School in Chamblee will return to the International Space Station on Wednesday to begin five months of living and working 260 miles above earth.
NASA astronaut and Henderson's class of 1978 graduate Thomas Marshburn will be making his second voyage to the orbiting outpost when he lifts-off atop a Russian rocket from the deserts of western Kazakhstan.
Two days later, he and two fellow crew members will dock their Soyuz spacecraft to a Russian module to begin their long duration stay in space.
Dr. Marshburn is only the second Henderson High student to work aboard the space station.
In 2008, Henderson's class of 1983 grad Col. Eric Boe visited the orbital complex for two weeks on a resupply mission aboard shuttle Endeavour. Boe's flight preceded Marshburn's by eight months.
Boe then returned to the outpost in 2011 as the last person to pilot shuttle Discovery as she made her final flight.
"We moved to Atlanta, my father's work called us to Atlanta, Georgia, so I was raised there near the big city," Dr. Marshburn recalled recently while at the Johnson Space Center near Houston. "We had some family property, a farm in north Georgia, spent a lot of time there fixing fences and spending a lot of time outdoors."
Known as Tommy to friends and his three brothers and three sisters, Dr. Marshburn first thought about space flight while at Henderson High.
"It was in high school that I thought the space program is interesting to me," he noted. "And it was specifically the space program that got me into a technical field and I just switch completely. I concentrated on math, science and fell in love with the physics classes."
Marshburn, Chris Hadfield and Roman Romanenko will lift-off on December 19 at 7:12 a.m. EST, an hour before the first bell rings to begin a new class day at Henderson High School.