Royal visit for ISS crew
The crew on board the International Space Station (ISS) stood to attention yesterday as they received a virtual visit from Queen Elizabeth II during her tour of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
Via a live video downlink with the Station, the Queen was introduced to ISS Expedition 15 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov and Sunita Williams.
Accompanied by British-born NASA astronaut Michael Foale, the Queen heard about life on board the International Space Station.
"Here on board the Station we are doing a myriad of experiments that will help us understand how to live in space for an extended period of time so that we can build spacecraft and go back to the Moon and on to Mars," explained Williams. "It's a wonderful place to live."
"The International Space Station is a great example of how different countries and different cultures can work together," added Kotov. "It is a great role model for companies and even governments. It shows we can work through our differences and be successfully. We can use our experience in the further exploration of our planet and other planets as well."
Kotov went on to explain that they were looking forward to the arrival of the European Columbus laboratory later this year, followed by the Japanese Kibo module early next year. "Two new modules give us more room, more laboratories, more science and more cultures mixing together – we are looking forward to working together in our new bigger home in the future."
As the ISS approached the end of the pass and before loss of communication with Goddard, Commander Yurchikhin thanked Her Majesty for her interest in the programme.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh toured Goddard Space Flight Center as part of a six-day visit to the United States to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement in Virginia.
During their tour of Goddard, as well as hearing from the ISS crew, they attended a reception with employees, met with schoolchildren taking part in NASA's Explorer School programme, and took part in a tree planting ceremony at the visitor centre.