The Dutch astronaut André Kuipers appears to have accidentally contacted the American emergency center 911 from space. He told about it in an interview with the Dutch radio program “Met Het Oog Op Morgen”.
In the interview, they talked about contact with earth. Kuipers said that it is nowadays possible to communicate from the space station via the satellite about 70 percent of the time. Even when he was in space, he occasionally called to earth to say hello to someone, for example. There are some practical difficulties, including the big delay on the line. “Sometimes people were hanging up the phone because they thought I did not say anything, so later on I started to talk as soon as I had dialed the last number.”
The connections are made via satellite to the Johnson Space Center of NASA in Houston and that is one of the reasons why the call went wrong once, Kuipers said. “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. So yes, you float and you have to type it in on a screen. I made a mistake, and the next day I received an e-mail message: did you call 911? “
“I missed the 0, and indeed there was a report at the Houston alarm center: something happened in the Johnson Space Center. Security arrived and they went to the room where the call came from, but there was nothing. There was no one on the ground, but there was the line where the space station came in. I was a little disappointed that they had not come upstairs”, Kuipers jokes.