President Donald Trump invited the media into the White House on Friday to celebrate a historic moment for America.
He placed a phone call to two female astronauts engaged in the first all-female spacewalk outside of the International Space Station (ISS), Space.com reported.
A historic call
The president was joined for the historic moment in the Roosevelt Room by his daughter, Ivanka Trump, as well as Vice President Mike Pence and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. The call was made to NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, who, at that moment, were replacing a faulty battery component on the exterior of the space station.
“Station, this is President Donald Trump. Do you hear me?” the president said after some introductory remarks. A few seconds later, Koch replied: “We can hear you.”
“That’s great. I was starting to get worried about you,” the president joked. “We’re thrilled to be speaking live with two brave American astronauts who are making history.”
An inspiration to all
Space.com noted that President Trump twice mistakenly referenced the historic event as the first female spacewalk — the first spacewalks involving a single female astronaut occurred in 1984 — when in fact it was the first all-female spacewalk, a mistake that Meir gently corrected in her humble response.
“First of all, we don’t want to take too much credit, because there have been many other female spacewalkers before us. This is just the first time that there have been two women outside at the same time,” Meir said. “You know, for us, this is really just us doing our job. It’s something we’ve been training for, for six years, and preparing for. And so…for us, it’s just coming out here and doing our job today”
Meir went on: “At the same time, we recognize that it is a historic achievement, and we do, of course, want to give credit to all of those that came before us. There has been a long line of female scientists, explorers, engineers, and astronauts, and we have followed in their footsteps to get us where we are today.”
Meir noted that she and Koch want to be an inspiration to everyone before being thanked and congratulated again by the president.
But the call involved more than just one historic first. According to Ivanka Trump, this marked “the first time since 1969 that a president has spoken to astronauts outside of the spaceship.”
“So, it’s incredible,” she said. Incredible, indeed.