She graduated from Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, California, then later earned a Bachelor of Surgery degree in Aerospace Engineering from University of California, Los Angeles in 1993. In 2002, she was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego.
She has served as a Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) for both the space shuttle and space station. Megan McArthur has flown one space shuttle mission, STS-125. She is known as the last person to be hands on with the Hubble Space Telescope (though she wasn"t actually "hands on" since she was using the robotic arm at the time).
McArthur has served in a number of positions including working in the Shuttle Avionics Laboratory (SAIL).
She dreamed of being an astronaut when she was a teenager. At the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, McArthur conducted graduate research in nearshore underwater acoustic propagation and digital signal processing.
Her research focused on determining geoacoustic models to describe very shallow water waveguides using measured transmission loss data in a genetic algorithm inversion technique. She served as Chief Scientist during at-sea data collection operations, and has planned and led diving operations during sea-floor instrument deployments and sediment-sample collections.
While at Scripps, she participated in a range of in-water instrument testing, deployment, maintenance, and recovery, and collection of marine plants, animals, and sediment.
During this time, McArthur also volunteered at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, conducting educational demonstrations for the public from inside a 70,000 gallon exhibit tank of the California Kelp Forest. Selected as a mission specialist by National Aeronautics and Space Administration in July 2000, McArthur reported for training in August 2000. She trained at the Carter training facility.
Following the completion of two years of training and evaluation, she was assigned to the Astronaut Office Shuttle Operations Branch working technical issues on shuttle systems in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL).
McArthur then served as the Crew Support Astronaut for the Expedition 9 Crew during their six-month mission aboard the International Space Station. She also worked in the Space Station and Space Shuttle Mission Control Centers as a Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM).
In 2006, McArthur was the capsule communicator (capcom) for STS-116. She was also the EVA capcom for the STS-117 mission in 2007.
McArthur was the ascent and entry flight engineer and was the lead robotics crew member for the mission.
The mission which lasted almost 13 days was McArthur"s first trip into space. In a pre-flight interview, she put it as: "I"ll be the last one with hands on.".
Megan McArthur was a member of the STS-125 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.