Telephone Conversation With the Astronauts on Board the Space Shuttle Discovery

April 18, 1985

The President. Commander Bobko -- Commander Bobko? Greetings. We've -- --

Commander Bobko. Good morning, Mr. President.

The President. Ah, thank you. I thought maybe I might have missed you. Well, listen we know you've had some frustrations up there. But overall, I think we can all be proud of the fourth mission of the Discovery and all that you've accomplished.

We've been watching down here, and I mean all of America. And I want you to know that we're rooting for you all. We saw a lot of human ingenuity at work, making the flyswatter-like tool. And as we watched Jeff Hoffman and Dave Griggs install it on the Discovery's arm, we had to acknowledge that was great work. And we're calling all of you up there now the ``SWAT Team.''

I want to congratulate astronauts Bobko and Williams on the maneuvers you've been putting the shuttle through. This is the 16th shuttle to go up. And we're learning more about its versatility every trip.

I've seen you playing -- excuse me -- I mean demonstrating with balls and jacks and yo-yos and even a slinky toy in the zero-gravity of space. And now, I know you're doing this to make some education videotapes for students learning about the laws of physics. That's really the best thing about our space program -- the inspiration and challenge that it gives our young people.

You've been conducting extensive tests on the human body's blood flow and digestion. And I want to ask astronaut-physician Rhea Seddon, how are these tests working out? And, Rhea, I'd also like to commend you on your dexterity on hitting that pin on the side of the satellite. If you don't mind, I could think of a job on a ranch in California that you might be interested in. [Laughter]

But, Senator Garn, I know that you're taking part in the health experiments. And, Jake, how are you doing? You're doing a fine job up there, but I could use your help down here right now in getting the Federal budget under control and arranging assistance for some people fighting for their freedom in Central America. So, don't stay up there too long. You know, Jake, maybe in around -- --

Senator Garn. Well, Mr. President, I'm doing just great. I've missed you, but I'll be back on Tuesday. I'm well aware of the vote on the Nicaraguan aid on Tuesday night. And I'll be voting just the way you'd like me to when I get back.

The President. Well, God bless you. And you know, Jake, maybe in around 4 years or so you could use your influence with NASA to get a certain retired politician a ride on the space shuttle.

Well, I just want all of you to know how proud we are of you. Good luck, and God be with all of you.

Anyone up there want to -- --

Commander Bobko. Thank you very much, Mr. President. We certainly enjoy being here. And I'm sure you realize that we're just the people in space, who are the working edge of the great team that's on the ground supporting us. Thanks again.

The President. Well, you're a great team up there. And we're all very proud of you. God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:04 a.m. from the Oval Office at the White House to the Discovery's crew: astronauts Karol J. Bobko, Donald E. Williams, M. Rhea Seddon, Jeffrey A. Hoffman, S. David Griggs, Charles D. Walker, and Senator Jake Garn of Utah.