"I am deeply saddened to learn of the loss of seven astronauts, and our condolences go out to their families.

We are grateful that these heroes are willing to serve their country and pursue scientific discovery for the benefit of all humankind.

Sadly, we feel a special loss as one astronaut called Washington state home and another trained here.

As we honor these men and women and pray for their families, we will continue to look to the future and explore new horizons."