Talk about a long-distance phone call.
Dale Hawkins, the operations manager at PinProsPlus, an online pin-making company in Kaysville, Utah, on Friday received what turned out to be anything but a normal business call, according to NBC affiliate KSL.
“Hey, this is Jessica Meir,” the caller said. “I’m so glad you picked up. I’m not able to leave you a call-back number.”
Hawkins told the TV station that he recognized Meir’s name from previous email correspondence, but what he didn’t realize at first was the Maine native had called from the International Space Station, where she is based for the next six months.
Meir arrived at the International Space Station, some 250 miles above the Earth, aboard the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft on Sept. 25 with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and Emirati astronaut Hazz Al Mansouri. KSL reports that Meir discussed with Hawkins her order for Expedition 61 pins for family and friends to commemorate her first spaceflight. PinProsPlus has for six years created official and customized pins for NASA.
It’s not everyday someone calls from outer space, so Hawkins told KSL that he needed to ask Meir something.
“‘Is it what you expected?’” was the first question that came to Hawkins’ mind, according to KSL. “She kind of got quiet and paused for a moment and said, ‘You know, it’s more than I ever imagined it would be.’ And I thought, ‘man that’s so cool.’”
Meir, the valedictorian of Caribou High School’s Class of 1995, was among three women and four men selected from 6,100 applicants in 2013 for NASA’s 21st class of astronauts. She is the third Mainer, and first Maine woman, to enter into outer space, the others being Christopher Cassidy, a York High School graduate who has completed six spacewalks and served as the nation’s chief astronaut from 2013 to 2017, and Charles O. Hobaugh, a Bar Harbor native who has made three spaceflights.
Meir is scheduled to go on the first all-female spacewalk with astronaut Christina Koch on Oct. 21.
Kaysville is north of Salt Lake City.