Imagine you’ve spent the last two months in space. You made history by being the first astronaut to travel to the International Space Station in a commercially-built spacecraft, and you’re finally back on Earth counting down the seconds until you can see your family. You’re bobbing up and down in the Gulf of Mexico after a successful splashdown, and the only thing left for you to do is kill time while the crew inspects your capsule. What do you do with that time? This was a question astronauts Robert L. Behnken and Douglas G. Hurley faced on Sunday as they became the first astronauts to travel to the International Space Station and back on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Capsule. The choice was pretty easy for these dads – may as well make some prank calls.
During a Houston welcome-home ceremony, Hurley recalled, “Five hours ago, we were in a spaceship, bobbing around, making prank satellite phone calls to whoever we could get ahold of. Which was kind of fun, by the way,”
“Five hours ago we were bobbing around in a spacecraft making prank satellite phone calls to whoever we could get ahold of,” Doug Hurley said, in one of the best post-landing quotes ever. pic.twitter.com/MhlEW26O1g
— Christian Davenport (@wapodavenport) August 2, 2020
You don’t have to take Hurley’s word for it. Several people who were on the receiving end of the pair’s prank calls stepped forward to back his story. One of those people was Anthony Vareha, NASA’s 91st flight director. He stated on Twitter, “I received one of these calls at the flight director console. 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.’”
I recieved one of these calls at the flight director console. 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.” https://t.co/Posn3RdQM9
— Anthony Vareha (@Enterprise_Flt) August 3, 2020
Megan McArthur, a NASA astronaut, and Behnken’s wife was another recipient of the unexpected phone call. She stated, “On my phone it said ‘Spam Risk’. Glad I answered anyway!” which is pretty unfair, considering how many times I’ve answered a “spam risk” call and never once has it been from an astronaut.
Exactly! On my phone it said “Spam Risk”. Glad I answered anyway! https://t.co/1WmMpQAL3P
— Megan McArthur (@Astro_Megan) August 3, 2020
After nine weeks in space, these NASA dads fully deserved to blow off some steam. Apparently, prank calls truly are the universal time-wasters. Next time you’re about to send a “spam risk” call to voicemail, maybe do a quick check to see what the people at NASA are up to that day.