Congressional leaders and middle school students joined President Obama for a teleconference call with the crews of the Space Shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station. The president served as moderator for children asking questions about astronaut life and lawmakers wondering about the latest space experiments.

Space shuttle Discovery left Earth on March 15 and docked with the space station two days later. The crew told Obama the space station’s cruising speed of 27,359 kilometers per hour (17,000 miles per hour) lets them see 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets in a 24-hour period. Their main mission was to install solar panels to increase the station’s power and capability to house a larger crew.

Obama greeted the international crew on board the space station, saying he hopes the mission “is an example of the kind of spirit of cooperation that we can apply not just in space but here on the ground, as well.”

The space station’s Commander Mike Fincke agreed. “It’s pretty impressive, what human beings can do when we work together constructively and not destructively. And that’s the mission of the International Space Station,” he said.

Tonight the president is holding another prime-time, nationally televised news conference. Will we be hearing more about his economic plan? Is something new in the works? Share your reactions here.