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The French SEPRA: An Interview with Director Jean-Jacques Velasco

UFOs at Close Sight

original source |  fair use notice

Summary: This interview of Jean Jacques Velasco is an excellent introduction to the work of the french SEPRA Jean Jacques Velasco, member of the french CNES, leads the SEPRA (Service Expertises Phénomènes Rentrées Atmosphérique) which succeeded to the GEPAN in 1988.


[NOTE: This article has been translated from French using an automatic online translation service.  The quality of the translation is relatively poor, but allows the reader to get an idea of the content of the article.]

When did the first official UFO investigation begin in France?

During a transfer of studies, the Institute of National Defense recommended in its conclusions, to create, a specific cell to study the phenomenon UFO.

In 1974, the Minister for Defense Robert Galley, had déclararé: "If it y' had something, it had to be studied".

The CNES was then indicated to accomodate this cell of studies which was born on May 1, 1977 under the name of GEPAN (Group Studies Not identified Air Phenomena).

Claude Poher was charged to direct it.

How was the GEPAN organized?

Claude Poher, engineer in Aeronautics and Head of Division "sounding rockets" of the CNES, is at the origin of the request for creation of the GEPAN. After authorization, it was charged to organize the work of this cell and associated to him a scientific group. Set up of twelve personalities, various disciplines, this group had as a function to follow the activities of the GEPAN and to ensure the rigorous approach of the phenomenon to him.

When did you join GEPAN?

In 1977, when Claude Poher asked for the collaboration of the engineers, technicians, agents of the CNES.

What was your function?

Graduate of a patent of high-level technicien in optics, I answered his request. He then charged me with developing a very particular project which aimed at designing an instrument intended for the analysis and the reconstitution of the optical stimuli reported by the witnesses. It acted moreover, of reconstituted an observation by what one calls today, images known as virtual.

When did you become GEPAN' S director?

In 1983, I took the direction of this structure after Alain Esterle and Claude Poher.

What is the difference between GEPAN and SEPRA?

The SEPRA replaced the GEPAN in 1988. The SEPRA was made withdraw the missions of studies and research. Its role is the collection of information and expertises on the cases. The innovation of the communication made it possible to make more effective the collection of information.

You established cuts has classification of the observed phenomenon?

Well on, it was precisely the aim of the statistical studies carried out by the GEPAN. Our classification is composed of various categories. The categories A and B represent the perfectly identified or almost identified phenomena. The category C includes the not exploitable cases because transmitted information is so poor that one can nothing draw some. The category D gathers the businesses in which one cannot compare the phenomena to known and traditional demonstrations, with simple reading of the verbal lawsuits.

This category gathers analyses then to deepen more. However, we are face of the extremely varied cases and it is very difficult to index them.

What specific obviousness C you get from field investigation?

They enable us to highlight the existence of a category of events characterized by the presence of material traces.

What are the misinterpretations?

With the simple reading of an official report of the gendarmerie, one can know if there is error or if it is indeed a particular phenomenon.

Most of the observations makes up of banal errors and confusions.

What other obviousness C you get from field investigation?

The most significant element is to confirm the colleration of a testimony.

Well on, the investigations enable us to highlight the existence of a category of events characterized by the presence of material traces.

In the business of Trans-in-Provence, did you make new discoveries?

I recently took again the mechanical print which had been measured by the gendarmes and ourself on the site Trans Provence, then I tried to model and interpret the mass which had landed on the site, by taking account of the hardness of the grounds. We compared the effects of the UFO with those of a helicopter and lunar LEM landing with the same place. Today, one can estimate the mass of the object between 250 kilos and a ton. The object was metal, since we took zinc traces.

What knows one really today phenomenon UFO?

What I can say, it is that the physical reality of the phenomena UFOS is practically established.

And that for two reasons; since 1994, we hold an aeronautical case of first importance, and then we have cases of observations brought closer with physical effects.

January 28, 1994, the A300 Airbus of the flight Air France AFR 3532 coming from Nice bound for London flies over the Paris area. It is 13. 14 when a member of crew announces to his fellow-members a strange object. The machine is a kind of bell dark, which is detached distinctly on the sky. A few seconds later, the object takes the shape of an egg. Its trajectory remains rectilinear, crossing with the perpendicular that of the Airbus.

On the whole, the observation will have lasted only one minute. But the military radars could record the phenomenon during nearly six minutes! correlated with testimonys of the crew, the data of the radars made it possible the SEPRA to estimate speed, the direction and the size of the machine (several tens of meters).

If it were believed initially that the change in form was with a modification of the trajectory and prospect, the recordings radars show that it of it is nothing.

In 20 % of the cases of the observations made by the professional pilots, military or civil, those are confirmed by the observation of the radars. I think that it is about something resembling bigrement the declarations of the Twining General in a secret memorandum of November 1947.

When one superimposes the work of our own research to the conclusions of Twining, which directed the Material Air Command of the US Air Force, we have what to be disconcerted, Twining advances that we have to make with real objects.

Which are your assumptions?

In the business of Trans-in-Provence, the object comes to be posed on a platform almost tangentially with a two meters height wall, whereas it ya even not twenty centimetres of variation enters the object and this wall.

To handle an object approximately 2,80 m in diameter, of significant mass and with a relatively high speed, that implies an astonishing precision of piloting.

I questioned soldiers... of course, they do not know how the machine could be manouvré.

If we do not know to do that at our time, it should some be concluded from it that the machine comes besides.

Some evoke the theory of the infra-ground but for my part, I think that that comes from space.


We can thus advance the extraterrestrial assumption in all serenity, as well as we advance other types of assumption in other fields.

It is clear that if we had of measurable advantage of events, we could undoubtedly bring other answers. For the moment, it is not the case.

This being, I consider that should not be rejected the extraterrestrial assumption, it should even be taken with much serious, more especially as it seems that with dimensions American, they modified the point of view of the institutions to now try to make a more serious research; not only they wish knowledge if there is of life in cosmos, but also if possible civilizations, extraterrestrial exist.

This project costs a billion dollar over five years and consists in taking again and developing programs as the space telescope Hubble and placing antennas on satellites to detect planetary systémes around stars.

Can one speak about a marriage between the bioastronomy and the study of the UFOS?

Well on! They would be enthralling to do it. But the problem, it is that the scientists are like everyone... impatient! They would like to have immediately discovered the response to their interrogations. It is necessary, on the contrary, to continue to do this work of ant and to reject any doubtful business.


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