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Obama calls astronauts; congratulates on their journey
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15:55, May 21, 2009

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U.S. President Barack Obama called astronauts aboard space shuttle Atlantis Wednesday and congratulated them on their "incredible journey," which included repairs to the high-priced Hubble Space Telescope.

"You are an example of the dedication and commitment to exploration that represents America. By allowing Hubble to continue on its journey, you've allowed us to continue on our journey," Obama told the shuttle skipper, Cmdr. Scott Altman, in a brief phone call from the Oval Office Wednesday.

Obama said one of his highest priorities was to appoint a new head of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and also took some time for a little banter.

The President asked the astraunauts jokingly if they had checked on his house in Illinois when the shuttle had flown over the state earlier in its mission.

"Did you guys see my house? I'm trying to figure out if my lawn is getting mowed there. I haven't been back in a couple months."

Atlantis, which set out on final shuttle mission to the Hubble space telescope on May 11, is due to return to Earth on Friday.


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