Published: Mon, January 07, 2019
Science | By

A Dutch Astronaut Triggered a Panic at NASA After Unintentionally Dialing '911'

A Dutch Astronaut Triggered a Panic at NASA After Unintentionally Dialing '911'

André Kuipers, the Dutch astronaut, called 911 by accident. Then, to place an worldwide call, the caller has to hit 011, followed by the actual phone number of the person they are trying to contact.

The 911 call apparently triggered an emergency situation at the Center, with technicians checking the line that connected the ISS and Earth. In order to get an external line the caller first has to dial 9.

His misdial set off a security alert at the Johnson Space Center center, with staff wondering if everything was OK.

Unaware of the chaos he caused at the space center, Kuipers received an email the following day saying "Did you call 911?"

Kuipers said he felt a little let down that no one came to space to help.


Kuipers said it's surprisingly easy to contact Earth from space, and that astronauts can use terrestrial phones via satellites about 70% of the time.

"Sometimes people would hang up because they thought I did not say anything, so later on I started to talk as soon as I had dialed the last number". Otherwise, they'll just have to hear about him accidentally prank-calling 911 from space, and wait to hear a somewhat delayed version of that story when he actually does dial the right number.

How did he dial 911 instead of the numbers for the center?

Back in 2015, Tim Peak, the first British astronaut also mentioned that he called from space and misdialed.

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