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Public Papers - 1989 - May

Remarks by Telephone to Astronauts Aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis

1989-05-09

The President. Hello. Captain Walker, can you hear me?

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. Well, I'm just checking in to wish you five the very best and to thank you for a mission so well done. I've got to make a slight complaint on our communications, because you guys can send something off to Venus, but I couldn't get ahold of you on the airplane flying back to Houston. But that's a minor complaint from the Oval Office.

But how are you feeling? And we are so proud of the job you all did.

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. No, after -- --

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. I mean, just on the physical side, is there any comparison to jet lag, or do you just really feel up to speed now?

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. Mary, it sounds like you. But, look, how was the actual deployment thing? That went smoothly, as I recall.

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. Yes, yes, yes.

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. That's amazing -- 1990 arrival? Is that something like that?

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. August of -- is it true that the Soviets have had great difficulty probing out that far?

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. What'd they do -- lose communication? Was it Venus? It was, wasn't it?

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. Mars. Yes, have they done anything towards Venus?

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. Is that right? I know our expectations are very high on the degree of resolution on this. It sounds like -- hey, tell me just a little -- have you got a couple of more seconds -- tell me a little about the computer lab you all are setting up -- the repair shop up there. Did everything end up being okay?

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. Yes, well, it was. I think that captured the imagination of a lot of Earthlings, to think that something like that could be accomplished up there. What's next for you all?

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. [Laughing] Just so you don't find the flight instructor, because I saw a couple of those sheets, and I'm a little embarrassed for you all to see them, frankly. I hope that -- --

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. Well, you may have trouble being that selective. But, listen, are you coming to Washington, because we'd love to see you here in the Oval Office or -- and I know Barbara would like to say hello. And if there are no plans for that, why, I expect I'll be -- well, I know I'm coming down to Houston at the end of the week. But I'd love to have you all here. Are there any plans for that?

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. It is. Hey, listen, it's an invitation, and -- well, let's work it out. I'll work through Admiral Truly [Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration] and set it up, because I'd like very much to have you here soon, and I'll talk you in the corner about hiding the flight sheets from my naval aviator days. But, really, you -- --

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. Do I -- sure I want to hear it?

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. You got it -- you got it. But the trouble is, unless you get here -- well, you can't do it because I'm leaving Thursday. I was going to say, unless you hurry up, the puppies are gone. They're heading on out to their various -- no, a couple of them will be here. Three of them will be in the neighborhood, but one's already gone to Texas -- Texas Rangerette, they call her -- and she's there with our son in Dallas. And then one heads to Florida; one goes to Kentucky Thursday; but the other three will be in the neighborhood. For you we might reassemble them. But we'll work this out; I want you to come here. And we're very proud of the job you all did. So, we'll check with Admiral Truly and see that we get a time that's convenient for all of you -- you and spouses as well.

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. Well, I believe very much -- and my only worries -- and they are worries that affect absolutely everything that I want to do -- is the budgetary constraints. But we've got some, I think, reasonably good figures in here now for NASA in which I totally believe, so we'll try to do our part from this end.

But, anyway, I'll let you all go and get some rest, but we will look forward to seeing you.

Astronauts. [Inaudible]

The President. And well done, and thank you. We're very, very proud of all five of you. Over and out.

Note: The President spoke at 2:17 p.m. from the Oval Office at the White House. The remarks of the astronauts were not included in the White House press release, and a tape was not available for verification of the content of this conversation. The crew of the ``Atlantis'' included: Capt. David M. Walker, USN, commanding officer; Lt. Col. Ronald J. Grabe, USAF, pilot; Mary L. Cleave, mission specialist; Maj. Mark C. Lee, USAF, mission specialist; and Norman E. Thagard, mission specialist.

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