Astronaut Trump? Ivanka Says She Wanted to Go to Space in NASA Visit

While Ivanka Trump has a high-profile job advising her father, the president of the United States, she told the International Space Station Expedition 56 crew Thursday (Sept. 20) that she had different childhood ambitions.

"I think I can speak for all of us here to say you inspire us all. You actually have my dream job," she told the crew via a video call from NASA's Mission Control Center. "I always wanted to be an astronaut, and I always wanted to go to space. You are fulfilling my dream up there."

Trump made her comments while touring NASA's Johnson Space Center with astronaut Nicole Mann, one of the crewmembers recently selected for future missions on commercial crew vehicles. Mann, along with astronauts Christopher Ferguson and Eric Boe, will launch in the first Boeing Starliner test flight. The official flight date hasn't been set yet, but NASA hopes to start up commercial crew flights next year.

Ivanka Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz tour NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas with astronaut Nicole Mann. (Image credit: Loren Elliott/Reuters/Newscom)

Accompanying the 36-year-old first daughter on her tour was Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who represents NASA Johnson's home state of Texas. Pictures from the tour showed Trump looking at spacesuits, walking through a large simulator facility and admiring a miniature model of the space station. 

"The International Space Station is certainly a fantastic laborating in space and it's an amazing collaboration," NASA astronaut Drew Feustel, who commands the station's Expedition 56 crew, told Trump during her call. "We look forward to continued operations together, internationally and cooperatively."

Trump also met with Holly Ridings, who this week became the first woman in NASA's history to serve as the chief flight director, according to the Daily Mail. Later on, Trump talked with local high school students who participate in robotics competitions under the guidance of NASA engineers.

Ivanka Trump views NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston with astronaut Nicole Mann. (Image credit: Loren Elliott/Reuters/Newscom)

Trump's father, President Donald Trump, made some high-profile space decisions in the past year. He officially swore in Jim Bridenstine as NASA administrator in August, nearly a year after first nominating him in Congress. Bridenstine struggled to get votes in the U.S. Senate, and his appointment was delayed for months; government officials cited several reservations over Bridenstine's appointment, such as his past comments about climate change and LGBTQ issues.

President Trump announced in June that he would like to implement a "Space Force" to protect U.S. space infrastructure. And in December 2017, the president directed NASA to send its crews to the moon in the coming decade, rather than aiming directly for Mars — the policy direction of the past administration.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: