President Speaks to ISS and Discovery Crews

President Speaks to ISS and Discovery Crews

President Obama was a couple minutes late, but he finally spoke to the combined crew of the International Space Station and the space shuttle Discovery this afternoon just after 5:00 pm EST.

He asked ISS Commander Scott Kelly how he was doing and said how proud he is of the astronauts. He said they were setting a great example with their courage and commitment to exploration. He said to Discovery commander Steve Lindsey that it must be fun to be the last commander of Discovery and to be completing construction of the ISS. Lindsey said that with their landing now scheduled for Wednesday, Discovery will have flown for 365 days in space and would not be forgotten for a long time.

Obama noted that there is a vehicle from each of the ISS partners as part of the ISS right now, and it was a testament to the partnership. Obama also talked about the new “crew member” who is aboard the ISS — Robonaut 2. He said it would inspire young people to be interested in science and technology. Linsday said “he” was still in packing foam and Obama laughed and said they should unpack him. Lindsay said he’d been packed in the foam for four months and joked that they think they’ve heard scratching sounds and “let me out.”

Obama ended by saying “We could not be prouder of what you guys are doing.” He added that he had recently spoken with “Mark” — a reference to Scott Kelly’s astronaut brother who is married to Rep. Gabrielle (Gabby) Giffords, who is recovering from a gunshot wound to the head — and that Mark had said that Gabby was making “incredible progress” and she was in their thoughts and prayers. Scott Kelly thanked the President and called Giffords a “true inspiration.”

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