WASHINGTON -- Queen Elizabeth II plans to stop by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center when she visits the United States in May to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the English settlement at Jamestown, Va.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)--arguably the Queen of Goddard--intends to be on hand May 8 when the Queen of England and her husband, Prince Philip, visit the Greenbelt, Md.-based NASA field center May 8 to tour the facility and make a phone call to the astronauts aboard the international space station.

"I am so proud to welcome the Queen of England and the Duke of Edinburgh to Maryland's world-class space facility, and to show Her Majesty and His Royal Highness the truly extraordinary contributions that Goddard makes to science, exploration and discovery," Mikulski said in an April 24 statement announcing the visit.

The announcement of Queen Elizabeth II's visit comes on the heels of an agreement between NASA and the British National Space Center to study how the two agencies will work together on space exploration. The memorandum of understanding was signed here April 19 by NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and his British counterpart.

Steve Atkins, an official at the British Embassy, said April 24 that the Queen's visit to Goddard is coincidental to the agreement signed last week and was added to itinerary primarily as a way to honor the spirit of exploration that marked the settlement at Jamestown. "The NASA visit is about modernity and looking forward to the next generation of explorers," he said.

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