One Dutch astronaut caused massive panic at NASA’s Houston base when he accidentally dialed 911 from space.
André Kuipers had been orbiting Earth in the International Space Station when he tried making a call through HQ back on Earth, according to The Sun. Unfortunately, he missed out a number and ended up calling U.S. emergency services instead.
Kuipers revealed that he first pressed 9 to make an outside call. The 60-year-old astronaut then tried to phone internationally by pressing 011, but accidentally left out the zero.
According to Kuipers, he didn’t even realize he had made a mistake until he received an email from the Johnson Space Centre in Texas, where his call had caused panic among staff and a security team had scrambled into the room where his call had been put through.
During an interview with Dutch public broadcaster Nederlandse Omroep Stichting, Kuipers explained that he got a message asking if he called 911.
“I was a little disappointed that they had not come up,” he joked during the interview to mark 50 years since Neil Armstrong’s moon landing.
Kuipers also revealed that it was surprisingly easy to make calls to Earth from the ISS. The spaceman, who completed two space missions totaling 203 days, explained that calls successfully got through 70 percent of the time, but they still had a problem with the huge time delays.
“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,” he said.
This wasn’t the first time that astronauts committed a phone call blunder from space.
Back in 2015, Tim Peake revealed on Twitter that he once dialed the wrong number while onboard the ISS. The British astronaut also apologized to the person he accidentally called.
“I’d like to apologize to the lady I just called by mistake saying ‘Hello, is this planet Earth?’ — not a prank call … just a wrong number!” he tweeted.