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.
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.
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.