Obama tells astronauts he's proud of them

AP News
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Posted: Jul 15, 2011 12:59 PM
Obama tells astronauts he's proud of them

President Barack Obama says he's personally proud of the crew aboard the final flight of NASA's space shuttle program and the "amazing feats" they are accomplishing in space.

He says the end of the program after 30 years will help push the frontiers of space exploration and human space flight.

Obama spoke Friday with the combined 10-person crew of space shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Station.

Space shuttle Atlantis blasted off on its final flight one week ago Friday on a delivery mission to the International Space Station. The shuttle program will end when Atlantis returns to Earth next Thursday.

Obama's plan for future U.S. space exploration is to have private companies take over orbital launches and get NASA working on human expeditions to an asteroid and Mars.