The "All Ohio" and "Woodpecker" Flight
After only two years in the Astronaut corps, Mary Ellen Weber was selected for her first Space Shuttle mission, STS-70, aboard Discovery. In July 1995, the crew of five delivered to space a communication satellite to an orbit 22,000 miles over the equator.
In addition to its success, this mission was noteworthy for two other reasons. First, it was known as the “All Ohio” flight, since four of the five crewmembers were from Ohio and the governor officially designated the fifth an “honorary Ohioan." With Ohio’s famous devotion to its home teams, a media frenzy ensued that continued
throughout their training and flight, complete with "breaking news" TV interruptions in Ohio.
Another notable aspect of this mission was the highly unusual cause for a five-week launch delay just one week before launch — woodpeckers damaging insulation while trying to build a nest. It was dubbed the “woodpecker flight,” further enhancing the media frenzy, and it even became the subject of a film from the then-young Olsen twins.
Weber was responsible for the satellite check out and deploy, and she was also the primary spacewalk crewmember, the Crew Medical Officer, and part of the four-member "flight deck crew" for re-entry and landing. Throughout the nine-day mission, she also operated groundbreaking biotechnology experiments in tissue growth.