ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports: President Obama called the crew of the Shuttle Atlantis to congratulate them for successfully repairing the Hubble Space Telescope this afternoon.
Speaking on a phone from the Oval Office, the President teased the crew with a much-anticipated announcement forthcoming from the administration for the choice of a new NASA administrator, but proved that in even in space the President isn’t giving any scoops up easily.
“We’re soon gonna have a new NASA administrator, I can’t disclose it to you because I’ve got to have some hoopla on the announcement hack here on earth,” The President joked.
One crew member chimed in, “So we’re sure the new administrator is not any of us on the flight deck right now, is it?”
“You know I’m not going to give you any hints,” The President joked back laughing.
On Monday President Obama met with retired Marine Corps General and former astronaut Charlie Bolden at the White House to discuss his likely appointment to be administrator of NASA, but a formal announcement not been made yet.
“I can assure you it’s a high priority of mine is to restore that wonder that space can provide, and to make sure that we’ve got a strong sense of mission not just within NASA but the country as whole,” the President told the crew of the new direction he’d like the space program to take under his new administration and under the yet-to-be-named NASA administrator.
The President said he – and his daughters – have been watching with amazement the images that the crew has been sending back from the Hubble.
“Here in Washington there’s a lot of talk abut clarifying our focus, our vision on where the country needs to go and I really think that what you guys represent is an example of what vision means.”
The crew – who was over the Galapagos Islands as they spoke with the President – said that they had recently been over Chicago and taken pictures.
“Did you guys see my house?” Mr. Obama asked of his Chicago digs, “I’m trying to figure out if my lawn is getting mowed there. I haven’t been back for a couple months.”
The crew said they’d give Mr. Obama the pictures of Chicago taken from so many miles away. No word on the state of his Hyde Park yard.