White House Calls Atlantis Astronauts

Originally published on July 15, 2011 4:50 pm
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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

The astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis received a special call today.

CHRISTOPHER FERGUSON: Hello, Mr. President. You're talking to the Increment 28 crew and the crew of the space shuttle Atlantis.

BARACK OBAMA: Oh, that's funny, see, because I was just dialing out for pizza.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

Houston, we have in order. President Obama phoned the Atlantis crew, along with the crew of the International Space Station.

NORRIS: And all joking aside, Mr. Obama thanked the astronauts for their hard work. He said their mission marks a new era of pushing the limits of space exploration, ultimately working toward a trip to Mars.

SIEGEL: And back to the jokes, the president offered his sympathies when one of the astronauts said they'd all become a big family in a short amount of time.

OBAMA: You need to be like a family 'cause I'm assuming you have to share pretty cramped quarters and a bathroom. So, you know, my wife and my daughters are always crowding me out.

SIEGEL: But shuttle Commander Chris Ferguson assured the president that as far as the rest of the universe is concerned, the accommodations really aren't so bad.

FERGUSON: We actually have three bathrooms on board. And we have a gym. We have several bedrooms. It's probably one of the more spacious homes that there is outside of planet Earth.

NORRIS: And what have a view. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.