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Whoops, NASA accidentally aired audio from an ISS emergency test to the public

Published Jun 13th, 2024 7:17PM EDT
international space station over Earth
Image: dimazel / Adobe

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The International Space Station has been in orbit for over two and a half decades now. In that time, it has swerved to avoid space debris and even had to deal with leaky Russian spacecraft. But yesterday, the internet briefly went into a panic when audio from an ISS emergency test was accidentally misrouted to the NASA public audio feed.

The ISS is constantly broadcasting to the internet—with viewers able to see camera views from outside and inside the space station. When the event happened, though, an unknown voice suddenly came over the audio feed, providing instructions for how to get the commander suited up for hyperbaric treatment. Other parts of the audio mentioned “multiple DPS hits.”

Hearing this at the time of the mishap very quickly sent many into a panic, with people posting about it on X and other social media sites immediately. It was extremely concerning, as while the ISS is slated to be deorbited in the 2030s, it’s still a very active part of NASA’s space operations at the moment. Thankfully, NASA confirmed that there was no emergency and that the audio was part of an ISS emergency test exercise.

The audio is part of a training simulation, the space agency explained, which is often undertaken to help keep the crew both on the ISS and on the ground ready to deal with emergencies in the event that they should actually happen. It’s a pretty big oopsie, of course, and while all is well on the ISS, it did lead a good few of us here on Earth to panic—not to mention if the news got back to the families of any astronauts onboard, it likely created panic there.

Still, these kinds of things can happen. It’s good to know that NASA has strong procedures in place—and that the agency routinely completes ISS emergency tests—to ensure that all crew members are ready to deal with those emergencies if they should happen.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.