NASA astronauts talk ‘extreme medicine’

3 min

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Global conference 

Three American ‘space doctors’ who between them have clocked up years orbiting Earth are due to touch down in Scotland in November to address a global audience of extreme medicine professionals. 

Thomas Marshburn – NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-3 Pilot Thomas Marshburn (May 10, 2021). Photo credit: NASA.

Dr Michael Barratt, Dr Thomas Marshburn and Dr Kjell Lindgren together have more than 50 years of experience with NASA, much of that time working in outer space. All have served on the International Space Station.

The veteran trio will land on UK soil to speak at the World Extreme Medicine annual conference at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh from 19 – 21 November. 

World Extreme Medicine encompasses a network of around a quarter of a million pioneering adventurers who promote and practise medicine in extreme environments across the globe, as well as undersea and in space. 

Dr Michael R. Barratt was selected by NASA in 2000 and has taken part in two spaceflights.  

Board-certified in Internal and Aerospace Medicine, Dr Barratt currently serves in the International Space Station Operations and Integration branches handling medical issues and providing orbit support. 

World Extreme Medicine: global network encompassing pioneers 

In 2009, he served as Flight Engineer for Expedition 19/20. This marked the transition from three to six permanent International Space Station crew members.  

Michael Barratt, Expedition 19/20 flight engineer, attired in a Russian Sokol launch and entry suit, takes a break from training in Star City, Russia to pose for a portrait. Photo credit/ Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre.

During this time, he performed two spacewalks.  He also flew on STS-133, which delivered the Permanent Multipurpose Module and fourth Express Logistics Carrier. 

Dr Thomas H. Marshburn has been with NASA since 2004.  He has a degree in Physics, two Masters (Engineering Physics and Medical Science) and a Doctorate of Medicine under his astronaut’s belt. 

He is a veteran of three spaceflights: STS-127, Expedition 34/35, and Expedition 66/67.  

Before becoming an astronaut, Dr Marshburn served as a Flight Surgeon, assigned to Space Shuttle Medical Operations and to the joint U.S. / Russian Space Programme. He became the Medical Operations Lead for the International Space Station.

Dr Kjell N. Lindgren joined NASA in 2009 as one of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class. He spent most of his childhood abroad, returning to the U.S. to complete his education and earn a Doctorate in Medicine. He is board certified in emergency medicine. 

Dr Lindgren has participated in two spacewalks and in more than a hundred different scientific experiments. He flew on Expedition 44/45 and logged 141 days in space and served as commander of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station, returning home on 14th October 2022.

The World Extreme Medicine conference, now in its 11th year, is delighted that NASA representatives will be joining this year’s impressive line-up of speakers. WEM is a Devon-based organisation that’s been teaching extreme medicine in remote environments for over 25 years. 

Featured Image: NASA astronaut Michael Barratt in a Russian Sokol launch & entry suite (2 July 2009). Photo credit: NASA.

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