For the first time in history, a pope interacts with the International Space Station (ISS) and its crew into orbit. Benedict XVI spoke for 19 minutes and completely in English, with the astronauts on board and spoke of the influence of advances in science and technology in our society today.
Close to 13:11 local time, started the satellite link audio and video where the pope, from his desk and could see images broadcast from space in a plasma television. Beside him were Thomas Reiter, the head of Human Flight Directory European Space Agency, and Enrico Saggese, chairman of the Italian Space Agency, who initiated communication with Vatican-Houston evidence and then presented to the Bishop of Rome astronauts.
“Holiness, welcome aboard, ” the pope said the commanders of the two teams: one of the ISS and the other of the shuttle Endeavour.
Once the conversation unfolded, Benedict referred to the astronauts with a message: “Humanity is going through a period of very rapid progress of scientific and technical applications. In a sense you are our representatives, advanced humanity exploring new areas.”
XVI expressed his interest in the personal status of their partners, said that Mark Kelly’s wife had health problems and expressed his closeness to the Italian Paolo Nespoli, whose mother died days ago.
At the end of the historic event, the Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, said the link “thrilled” to everyone in the Papacy, and that therefore “we participated with enthusiasm.”