Rome: Pope Benedict XVI will talk with International Space Station (ISS) astronauts during the space shuttle Endeavour's final mission to the station, the official newspaper of the Vatican reported.
The 84-year-old pontiff's linkup with the space station May 4 will come at a time when there are two Italian astronauts on board, according to the L'Osservatore Romano.
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 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 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 US.
First Published: Friday, April 22, 2011, 12:50