Mary Ellen Weber, Ph.D.
Chemical Engineer and Astronaut.
Dr. Weber was born August 24, 1962 in Cleveland, Ohio; Bedford Heights, Ohio is her hometown. She is married to Dr. Jerome Elkind, who is with Texas Instruments, Inc. and originally from Bayonne, New Jersey. She is an avid skydiver, and also enjoys scuba diving and flying. Her mother, Joan Weber, currently resides in Mentor, Ohio; her father, Andrew Weber, Jr., is deceased.
Dr. Weber has logged over 3,100 skydives since 1983. She received a silver medal in the U.S. National Skydiving Championships in the 20-person freefall formation event, in 1997, 1995 and 1991; and she was in the world's largest freefall formation, with 297 people, in 1996. She is also an instrument-rated pilot.
In administrative assignments, Dr. Weber most recently has been working with a venture capital firm to identify promising areas of space research and related companies for investment. In addition, she was the Legislative Affairs liaison at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C., interfacing with Congress and traveling with the NASA Administrator. Prior to this appointment, she was Chairman of the procurement board for the Biotechnology Program contractor. Also, she served on a team designated to assess and revamp the Space Station research facilities. Dr. Weber's principal technical assignments within the Astronaut Office have included Shuttle launch preparations at the Kennedy Space Center, payload and science development, and development of standards and methods for crew science training. She was selected by NASA in the fourteenth group of astronauts in 1992.
On her first mission, STS-70, Dr. Weber launched aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on July 13, 1995. The five-member crew delivered a NASA communications satellite, the sixth Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, which is now in operation 22 thousand miles above the equator. Dr. Weber's primary roles were in check out and release of the satellite, in operation of biotechnology experiments, as contingency spacewalk crew, and as medical officer.