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Finnish President Receives Call From Space

August 3, 2009

Finnish President Tarja Halonen received a phone call on Monday from astronaut Timothy Kopra aboard the International Space Station.

The conversation went on for 14 minutes on a video conference call that was broadcast live on NASA’s website.

Halonen tested the authenticity of Kopra’s Finnish roots during the call by asking him if he missed sweating it out in the sauna while in space.

“It would be a wonderful extension to have a sauna on board…. I miss sauna and I miss my family but it is a great experience,” he told the Finnish president.

Kopra’s grandparents emigrated from Finland to the United States about a hundred years ago and Finnish media has been closely watching him.  He is the first astronaut with a Finnish background in space.

Kopra was part of the International Space Station crew that just arrived via the space shuttle Endeavour on the STS-127 mission.

Image Caption: Expedition 20 Flight Engineer Tim Kopra speaks with the president of Finland early Monday morning. Credit: NASA TV

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