ISS/Shuttle Crews Take Call from President Obama

Article written: 25 Mar , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

The ten astronauts aboard the International Space Station chatted with US President Barack Obama – along with some school children and Congressmen (“big kids when it comes to talking to astronauts,” Obama said). Topics discussed during the 30 minute conversation included the new solar arrays installed by the STS-119 crew, extraterrestrial life, video games, space food and exercise. Obama got a big laugh in orbit and on the ground when said he was glad the astronauts were using a hands-free phone since they were cruising along at 17,500 mph. He also asked if the astronauts still drank Tang, which didn’t even merit a reply from space.

The president told the ISS crews and the visiting shuttle crew he was extraordinarily proud of them for their work the past week, and wanted details of how they installed the new solar panels.

“We’re investing back here on the ground a whole array of solar and other renewable energy projects and so to find out that you’re doing this up at the space station is particularly exciting,” Obama said.

Last week’s addition of the last set of solar wings doubled the amount of power available for science experiments and will help support a larger crew in a few months.

Obama also asked Sandy Magnus, who has been on board the ISS for several months, and the only woman on board, whether she was ever tempted to cut her hair, which floated around her head. She said no, and the president called it “a real fashion statement.”

Obama also noted the “international-ness” of the ISS and said, “One of the things about this that this is an international space station, and we hope this is an example of the sort of spirit of cooperation we can apply not just in space by here on the ground as well.”

To watch the complete interview, CollectSPACE has the video.

The space shuttle crew departed from the ISS on Wednesday.

12 Responses

  1. Aqua says

    Its good to see the new President show an interest in the ISS…

    But what I want to know, is what are his policies concerning NASA and space exploration.

    I note that at under ‘policy’ there is no header for these subjects.

  2. One Angry Scientist says

    The real question is:

    Does the ISS have a bailout policy?

  3. ZZ says

    Seeing how it’s costing 6 million dollars per second to keep those guys up there, it’s hard to see how they can justify spending half an hour yakking with the prez.

    Manned spaceflight is pointless. The coolness factor is just not worth the expense. Fund science projects and interplanetary probes until some guy invents The Quellar Drive and gives us he ability to actually go someplace other than Mars.

  4. ND says

    One Angry Scientist,

    Yes, the Russians.

  5. Sir Arthur Wellesley says

    “Seeing how it’s costing 6 million dollars per second to keep those guys up there, it’s hard to see how they can justify spending half an hour yakking with the prez.”

    Where do you get these numbers from???

  6. Sir Arthur Wellesley says

    Well I apologise if I didn’t pick up on your sarcasm……but 518 billion dollars a day is a incredibily ludicrous statement…that is of course if you were serious ZZ??

  7. Feenixx says

    ZZ Says:
    “Seeing how it’s costing 6 million dollars per second to keep those guys up there….”

    ZZ, do you really believe that???
    It would be enough for more than 800 space shuttle launches every day

    Reading large figures on the Internet, It’s probably a good idea to keep a calculator handy.

  8. Obama Man says

    Obama is sooo coool! He da man!

  9. ZZ says

    The big number was sarcasm to embellish my main point about manned spaceflight.

  10. Aqua says

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion(s).

    In my view, I believe it is crucial for humanity to expand out into at least our solar system.

    It would be good to have humans in more than one place. Think cometary or asteroidal impact(s)

    As far as we can tell or know, this solar system is ours. It seems to have been ‘given’ that we must explore it to continue our evolution.

    Robotics must take a larger role in space exploration, especially as our computer savvy increases, but there will always be a reason for man to travel to these places. And that is – experience.

  11. marcellus says

    Obama is so in love with himself he’ll grab any opportunity to sit in front of a camera.

  12. Sili says

    Manned spaceflight is pointless.

    So is mountaineering.

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