NASA denies ISS medical emergency after SpaceX training drill airs on livestream

International Space Station

NASA was forced to deny that a medical emergency broke out onboard the International Space Station (ISS) after a training drill was accidentally aired on its YouTube livestream.  

Distressing audio was broadcast on the channel which appeared to confirm that an astronaut onboard the ISS was in trouble after suffering from decompression sickness (DCS). 

A female voice could be heard telling people to “get the commander back in his suit” and for crew members to check for a pulse “one more time”. 

“So, if we could get the commander back in his suit, get it sealed … for suited hyperbaric treatment … Prior to sealing, closing the visor, and pressurizing the suit, I would like you to check his pulse one more time,” the female voice said. 

Later the female voice, who was identified as a flight surgeon working at the SpaceX mission control center in Hawthorne, California, said that she was concerned there are “some severe DCS hits” and that the prognosis for the commander was “relatively tenuous”. 

After concerns for crew members grew on social media, NASA clarified the situation on X (formally known as Twitter) and denied that any real-life emergency had transpired. 

“There is no emergency situation going on aboard the International Space Station. At approximately 5:28 p.m. CDT, audio was aired on the NASA livestream from a simulation audio channel on the ground indicating a crew member was experiencing effects related to decompression sickness,” NASA confirmed through its ISS social media account.  

NASA added: “This audio was inadvertently misrouted from an ongoing simulation where crew members and ground teams train for various scenarios in space and is not related to a real emergency.” 

The agency confirmed that the ISS crew had all been asleep at the time the audio was streamed and unaware of the drama that had unfolded. 

SpaceX later confirmed on X that the simulation was only a test and confirmed that the “crew training in Hawthorne is safe and healthy as is the Dragon spacecraft docked to the @space_station”. 

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