Bush Thanks Discovery 'Risk-Takers'
US President George W. Bush on Tuesday thanked the astronauts of the space shuttle Discovery for being "risk-takers" on behalf of space exploration and said he would pray for their safe return.
"I just wanted to tell you all how proud the American people are of our astronauts. I want to thank you for being risk-takers for the sake of exploration," he said in a telephone call with the seven crew of Discovery and two astronauts on the International Space Station.
"Thanks for being such great examples of courage for a lot of our fellow citizens," Bush said. "As you prepare to come back, a lot of Americans will be praying for a safe return."
Crew aboard Discovery -- the first shuttle mission since the Columbia disintegrated during re-entry on February 1, 2003, killing all seven crew on board -- perpared to carry out a risky repair operation on the vessel's thermal shield to ensure the shuttle can make a safe return to Earth.
"We really enjoy what we're doing. We really believe in our mission and we believe in space exploration and getting people off the planet, and seeing what's out there," Discovery Commander Eileen Collins told Bush.
"So the steps we're taking right now are really worth it and we want everybody it know that and thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us," she said.
"What you're doing is really important, and you've got a strong supporter for your mission here in the the White House," said Bush, who quipped: "Thanks for taking my phone call. Now get back to work."
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NASA Chief Says Agency 'Goofed' With Discovery Checks
Houston(AFP) Aug 01, 2005
The head of NASA said Sunday that the US space agency had "goofed" on key safety checks, as engineers examined whether space shuttle Discovery is safe to return to Earth.
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