President Trump holds special conference with astronauts aboard space station


President Trump held a live video conference from the Oval Office Monday morning with two NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Joining the president in the Oval Office were astronaut Kathleen Rubins, who recently returned from space, and first daughter Ivanka Trump, who called for more women and girls to take interest in STEM careers, relating to science, education, technology and math.

Aboard the space station were Commander Peggy Whitson and Colonel Jack Fischer. The special video conference was in honor of Whitson, who broke the record Monday as the American astronaut to have spent the most time in space.

Whitson, 57, is already the oldest woman in space. As of Monday, she has now passed the record of 534 days, two hours and 48 minutes as the most time spent in space by an American. Astronaut Jeffrey Williams had set the previous record last year.

Whitson is scheduled to return to Earth in September aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule. By that time, she will have logged a total of 666 days in orbit over three separate trips, NBC reported.

President Trump congratulated Whitson for her exciting accomplishment.

The president discussed with the astronauts NASA’s plans for a mission to Mars by 2030, and Whitson and Fischer shared details of the various projects they are working on at the space station.

Thousands of students from across the country were reported to have been watching the event from their classrooms.

Watch the complete exchange with President Trump and the astronauts below:

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