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Astronauts made ‘prank calls’ after returning to Earth

Published Aug 6th, 2020 11:11PM EDT
astronaut prank calls
Image: NASA

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  • NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley revealed that they had a bit of fun while they were waiting to be picked up after splashing down in the ocean.
  • The pair apparently made some prank phone calls using the satellite phone they had on board the Crew Dragon.
  • They called the flight director as well as Behnken’s wife.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley made history when they were aboard the first crewed flight to the International Space Station in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. They made history again when they splashed down off the coast of Florida just days ago. But while the world was celebrating their safe return, the astronauts bobbing in the ocean decided to have a little fun while they waited to be rescued.

The astronauts had access to a satellite phone while they were hanging out in the capsule as it rested in the ocean. With nothing else to keep them occupied, they apparently decided to make some calls.

Hurley revealed during an interview after the recovery that he and his fellow astronaut placed several calls from the ocean, and they enjoyed it. “Five hours ago, we were in a spaceship, bobbing around, making prank satellite phone calls to whoever we could get a hold of,” Hurley said. “Which was kind of fun, by the way.”

The duo placed a call to the flight director of the mission, who was no doubt relieved that the pair had safely returned to Earth. “I received one of these calls at the flight director console,” Anthony Vareha tweeted, “It started with an opening line like ‘Hi, it’s Doug and Bob and we’re in the ocean.’ I think my response was ‘Yeah, I can see that.'”

The astronaut pranksters even placed a call to Bob Behnken’s wife, Megan McArthur, who is also a NASA astronaut. In a hilarious twist, the satellite phone call almost went unanswered because it was flagged as spam on McArthur’s phone. “On my phone it said ‘Spam Risk,'” she tweeted. “Glad I answered anyway!”

Now that the astronauts are back safe, and the Crew Dragon proved its worth, so to speak, NASA will have the opportunity to fully certify it for future use. That means that NASA can use the Crew Dragon to send astronauts on official missions, rather than demo test flights as has been the case thus far.

Prior to this, NASA had been paying for seats aboard Russia’s Soyuz rockets in order to maintain its presence on the International Space Station. That wasn’t an ideal situation for the space program as it was incredibly costly and relying on another country’s space program meant accomodating their schedule rather than operating independently. Now, NASA doesn’t have to worry about such things, though they may start getting more prank phone calls.

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