Obama speaks with astronauts on Station today. (White House)
President Obama called up the crews of the International Space Station and the docked shuttle Endeavour today to send congratulations and ask questions as students and congressional leaders looked on.
Speaking from the White House's Roosevelt room, the president spoke directly to the eleven residents aboard earth's orbital outpost beginning at 5:19 pm EST.
"Hey Guys... well its great to talk to you guys," Obama began as large group of students, teachers and government officials surrounded his chair. "We have a bunch of excited young guys here."
"I just wanted to let you know how proud we are of all of you," the president added.
The 23-minute discussion included questions to the astronauts from middle school students who traveled to the nation's capital from Michigan, Florida and North Carolina.
Today's White House photo-op comes three weeks to the day in which the president canceled NASA's Constellation project which was to carry Americans to the space station in 2015 and the moon some five years later.
"We just wanted to let you know that the amazing work that's being done on the International Space Station, not only by our American astronauts but also our colleagues from Japan and Russia, is just a testimony to human ingenuity. A testimony to extraordinary skill and courage that you guys bring to bear, and it's also a testimony to why continued space exploration is so important. And it's part of the reason why my commitment to NASA is not wavering," the president radioed the crews.
Constellation's cancellation will cause thousands of professionals their jobs here on America's Space Coast.