How To Dial 911 From Space

The comedy of errors began when he mistakenly omitted one of the four digits.

Dutch astronaut André Kuipers accidentally called 911 while aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in an attempt to reach NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Newsweek reports. However, the astronaut's mistake made everyone at the center panic when they heard that Kuipers called 911. His slip up caused a security alert and he learned he would have to be more careful when trying to contact earth from outer space.

That's even easier to explain.

Kuipers revealed the mistake on the radio via the Dutch public broadcasting organization Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS).

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André Kuipers told the Netherlands' public broadcaster Nederlandse Omroep Stichting that he called United States emergency services after dialling the wrong number while trying to contact NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The next day, Kuipers received an email asking if he called 911, and he told them he may have done so by accident.

He then joked that he was "a little disappointed that they had not come up". In this case, Kuipers totally missed the "0" and ended up dialing 911 straight away.

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. The woman on the phone thought it was a prank when he said: "Hello, is this planet Earth?"

Kuipers was not the first astronaut to call a wrong number, as his colleague Tim Peake posted about his experience on his Twitter account in 2015.

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