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PRESS RELEASE


President Trump To Talk with U.S. Astronauts on Space Station Monday

April 21, 2017 (EIRNS)—NASA and the Department of Education, on behalf of the White House, are both mobilized "to encourage classrooms throughout America to tune-in" live, when President Trump calls NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on April 24, to congratulate her as she breaks the American record for most total days in space, besting NASA astronaut Jeff Williams’ record of 534 days.

NASA will be broadcasting the call live on NASA Television, from NASA’s Ustream and YouTube websites, and on its Facebook page, and is making NASA "STEM on Station" materials available for classroom use.

Trump’s daughter Ivanka and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins will join the President in the Oval Office for the call; NASA astronaut Jack Fischer, who arrived yesterday for his first stay on the ISS, will join Whitson on the call.

Whitson, a 57-year-old Iowan, had her third stay aboard the ISS extended for another three months on April 5. By the time she returns to Earth in September she will have clocked at least 663 days of total spaceflight time. She is currently the Commander of the ISS crew, making her the first woman to command the space station twice (she also headed the mission during her second six-month stay in 2007-2008). And with her eighth spacewalk on March 30 (seven hours-plus long), she set the record for most spacewalks conducted by a female astronaut, totaling 53 hours and 22 minutes working out-and-about in space in a spacesuit.

The decision to use the White House call to the ISS to excite young Americans about the space frontier, coheres with President Trump’s earlier speech promoting NASA and evoking Kennedy’s space program. He also noted on April 18, in a speech at Snap-On Tools headquarters in Wisconsin, that the United States needs the NASA space program psychologically:

"I don’t know if you noticed, recently I signed a very big order: We’re going to spend again on the NASA space program, something we need, and we also need it psychologically.... We are a nation of builders. We are the country that dug out the Panama Canal, that put a man on the face of the Moon, and that linked our cities with majestic railroads and curving highways. We are the country that is always on the cusp of the next invention."