Today, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence led a call with the three NASA astronauts who are currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Participants dialing in from the ISS included NASA astronaut and ISS Commander Chris Cassidy, and NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who are living and working on the ISS as part of the Expedition 63 crew.
On May 30, 2020, Behnken and Hurley became the first astronauts to launch to the ISS aboard a commercial spacecraft and rocket, lifting off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in a SpaceX Crew Dragon atop a Falcon 9 rocket. The mission, known as NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2, is an end-to-end test flight to validate the SpaceX crew transportation system, including launch, in-orbit, docking and landing operations. This marked the first time American astronauts have launched on an American rocket from American soil in nearly a decade. The Vice President and Second Lady were present at that historic launch on May 30.
The Vice President and Second Lady congratulated the astronauts and led a discussion of their experience living and working in space as part of Expedition 63, including upcoming planned space walks. All three astronauts previously flew on Shuttle missions to the ISS, and Vice President Pence asked what it means to them personally to be involved in this historic mission. The Second Lady asked the astronauts what advice they would give to young Americans they have inspired to become space professionals. Vice President Pence thanked the astronauts for their courageous service and professionalism as the United States leads again in space. He assured them that they have the confidence and the prayers of the American people.