Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pope Blesses Astronauts in 1st Papal Space Call; Says Communication to Vatican "Extraordinary"

The 12 astronauts circling the earth received a blessing from Pope Benedict XVI today (May 21, 2011) in the first ever papal call to space, according to the Associated Press website.

The pope addressed the crews of the linked space shuttle Endeavor and International Space Station from the Vatican, making special mention of the U.S. commander's wounded congresswoman wife and the recently deceased mother of one of the two Italian astronauts on board.

The historic communication -- "extraordinary" in the pope's words -- took place in the next-to-last flight in NASA's 30-year shuttle program.

Seated at a table before a television set tuned to NASA's live broadcast from orbit, Benedict said the space fliers are "our representatives spearheading humanity's exploration of new spaces and possibilities for our future."

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