Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers accidentally called 9-1-1, an American emergency services number, from orbit during his time aboard the International Space Station. The 60-year-old, who spent more than 200 days among the stars over two separate missions in 2004 and 2011, 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. The next day I received an email message: Did you call 911?,” said Kuipers. He quickly hung up, but the call triggered a Mission Control alert in Houston. Read more for an in-depth tour of the ISS given by Kuipers.
Yes, astronauts aboard the International Space Station are able to make calls as they please using a special voice over Internet protocol, the same technology that people use to make Internet calls over Skype.
“A capability that was built into the ISS, with the rise of Internet phone calls, is the ability for the astronauts in the space station to just dial up anybody that they might want to. Many people have gotten calls from space,” said Wayne Hale, who served as a flight director in NASA’s Mission Control, to NPR.