Pope to talk with International Space Station crew

Pope Benedict XVI will talk with International Space Station (ISS) astronauts on May 4 during the space shuttle Endeavour’s final mission to the orbiter, the official newspaper of the Holy See said on Thursday.

The 84-year-old pontiff’s linkup with the space station will also come at a time when there are two Italian astronauts on board, L’Osservatore Romano reported.

Paolo Nespoli has been on the ISS since December and when Roberto Vittori arrives on Endeavour it will be only the second time two Italians have been in space together.

Endeavour will blast off for the last time on April 29, and the space shuttle fleet will finally retire in July when Atlantis returns from its final mission to the ISS, leaving Russia’s Soyuz craft as the only way for astronauts to get to the space station.

The retired shuttles, including Discovery, which has already made its last flight, will be moved to museums in the United States.

ROME, April 21 (RIA Novosti)

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