MORE ASTRONAUT EXPERIENCES
Mary Ellen Weber was selected in the fourteenth class of career NASA Astronauts in 1992. Counter to common misconceptions, career Astronauts are not assigned based on any prior expertise. Instead, they are expected to be able to take on any role a mission might call for and must be experts in operations, aviation, and all aspects of spaceflight. Astronaut training is therefore diverse and dynamic. For instance, they are trained in all launch and re-entry procedures in order to be "flight deck" crew during these mission phases, to perform spacewalks, to operate and repair all spacecraft systems, to maneuver the robotic arm, to land the Space Shuttle in simulators, to fly supersonic T-38 jets, to provide onboard emergency medical care, to scuba dive, to be expert photographers, to be media spokespeople, and to survive bailouts on both land and water. Outside of training for spaceflight, there is no standard career for an Astronaut. Weber received coveted operational assignments representing the Astronaut Office, as well as assignments at Headquarters working with NASA's highest executives in congressional relations and in space commercialization with VC firms.