Calling 911 from the International Space Station is surprisingly easy
Houston, we have a problem.
Astronaut André Kuipers called 911 from the International Space Station, and it wasn’t to report an alien invasion, a George Clooney sighting, or even a fellow astronaut spoiling book endings. In fact, it was an accident—and it’s surprising that it doesn’t happen more often.
According to Newsweek, the Dutch astronaut explained to the Netherlands public broadcaster Nederlandse Omroep Stichting how he accidentally contacted emergency services in the United States while floating some 254 miles above the Earth.
“If you’re in space, it’s like you’re making a call via Houston. First you dial the 9 for an outside line, and then 011 for an international line,” he said, according to science and technology website Futurism. However, Kuipers forgot to dial the 0—setting off an alarm at Johnson Space Center in Houston. “I made a mistake. The next day I received an email message: Did you call 911?” Kuipers said, before joking that he was “a little disappointed that they had not come up.”
Bet they would have come up if he saw George Clooney.