HOUSTON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- The astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station received a Wednesday congratulatory phone call from President Barack Obama.
The president -- accompanied by a dozen U.S. middle school students who were in Washington for a national engineering competition -- called the space station from the White House to offer his congratulations for their work. Obama said he is proud and excited about the work being done on the space station and told the crews of space shuttle Endeavour and the ISS he is committed to continuing human space exploration and complimented them on being "great role models."
After the presidential chat, the crews went back to work transferring and installing racks in the space station's new Tranquility node. Then, NASA said, they re-boosted the station using Endeavour's thrusters, reconfigured spacesuits and passed the 75-percent mark of supply and equipment transfers between the two spacecraft.
The 33-minute re-boost procedure occurred a little after 2:30 a.m. EST Thursday. When it was completed, NASA said the station's altitude had been raised by about 1.3 miles to an orbit that ranges from 208 to 219 miles above Earth.
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