Summary: For obvious reasons astronaut encounters with UFO's fall into the very highest category of sightings. Precious because - rightly or wrongly - the credibility factor means one astronauts testimony is probably worth around ten thousand of anyone else's. In effect we have here a category of person trained to the highest standards; modern space travellers who presumably must be the best equipped witnesses to recognise someone else's space vehicles, even those from the depths of the universe.
For obvious reasons astronaut encounters with UFO's fall into the very highest category of sightings. Precious because - rightly or wrongly - the credibility factor means one astronauts testimony is probably worth around ten thousand of anyone else's. In effect we have here a category of person trained to the highest standards; modern space travellers who presumably must be the best equipped witnesses to recognise someone else's space vehicles, even those from the depths of the universe.
As technical and scientific observers, astronauts have not always been willing to become involved in the debate of UFO's as extraterrestrial visitors. Others have waited until after retirement . One remarkable admission comes from former Apollo astronaut Dr Edgar Mitchell. He claims to have talked to people at the highest level. These sources range from employees in control towers and radar, as well as high officials in military intelligence; people whose jobs actively involved the investigation of the UFO phenomenon.
According to Mitchell: "These people are ready to tell their story....Their story is that much of the ET lore is true.....that much of the core evidence is true". Mitchell also maintains that disclosures from the highest sources admit to extraterrestrial technology having being adopted in the latest aeronautical developments. In other words the military have actively benefited from technology revealed to them by aliens.
Further disclosures come from astronaut Gordon Cooper. When stationed as a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base, Cooper along with several other airmen witnessed a UFO land in a nearby lake bed. The incident was filmed on a movie camera and the facts reported to the proper authorities. When the film was developed Cooper was ordered to send it to Washington, and that according to him was the last that he saw of it.
The reality is that such frank admissions from astronauts, serving or otherwise, are rare. Frequent misquotations, lies and distorted reporting have all contributed to a reluctance to speak out on the subject. In turn this silence has created a folklore of infamous encounters, rapidly embellished by frequent re-telling. Encounters that have quite literally proved out of this world.
As mentioned above, the UFO enigma as it pertains to the astronaut has developed a sizeable mythology. The following incidents all fall into this category and the reader must decide for themselves how authentic they sound!
The Discovery Incident. 1989
Top of the list of these questionable incidents is the drama concerning the Space Shuttle Discovery. An American radio ham Donald Ratsch claimed to have intercepted messages from Discovery that appeared to indicate the presence of a UFO. The exchange alleged to have transpired between the Shuttle and Mission Control spoke of a 'fire', which UFO investigators claim is NASA code for an unidentified object! Shortly after this followed the message 'we still have the alien spacecraft under observation'. Later it was claimed that for a few minutes Discovery was entirely drained of its power and rendered completely inoperative.
Following Donald Ratsch's disclosure of the incident , the so called Discovery Encounter made headlines throughout the world. For their part NASA vigorously denied the claims, and were backed up by the crew of the Discovery who attributed the furore to an elaborate hoax!
The strange moon.
Another of the great astronaut legends concerning encounters with aliens is the issue concerning the sovereignty of the moon. For a long time the direction of NASA was geared to putting a man on the moon followed by full lunar exploration. In the event of course this is exactly what happened. Only not quite. Suddenly the entire programme was terminated. From the glory of putting a man on the moon the long term mission of lunar exploration suddenly evaporated.
Not even the Russians felt disposed to take up the baton. This is strange, and however you look it at it represents a curious decision. To have come this far and to just give up like that seems hard to understand. Some attributed this climb down to a rumour that aliens had made it clear that super power violation of a moon they regarded as their own would not be tolerated. In other words, it was a "hands off our moon" ultimatum!
In his book "UFO's - Fact or Fiction" author Nigel Blundell has the following to say on the matter: " Aldrin and Armstrong are alleged to have seen some UFO's in a crater and Aldrin filmed them as Armstrong got out. His censored words are supposed to have run: 'These babies are huge sir.....enormous...I'm telling you there are other space craft out there!' Continues Blundell: " The story would be entirely laughable had it not come from former NASA officials Otto Binder and Maurice Chatelain, former boss of the organisations communications system.
Another unattributed report has Armstrong telling an unnamed friend in military intelligence: 'We were warned off. There was never any intention of a space station or a moon city'!
Additional input into the cessation of lunar exploration was published in the Canadian newspaper Midnight. In February 1977 the paper published an article with photos it claimed showed signs of alien excavation. According to the article: "Alien beings have been discovered on the moon say American scientists. We have learned that their machines and workings can be seen in official photographs from NASA.
The article additionally claimed an American astronomer had broken through reams of official secrecy to discover the real truth behind the lunar landings. To quote the article: " it was to avoid a confrontation with the Beings that the US government suspended its moon exploration programme. Astronomer George H Leonard of Rockville says he was told by a space scientist that 'top people' around the world have been briefed about the aliens'!
In the book UFO Magic in Motion, author Arthur Shuttlewood commented on Leonard's claims in the following terms: " He (Leonard) believes NASA turned its attention to Mars and Venus from the moon survey, to see if anything could be discovered about the aliens origins. Forthrightly he said: 'NASA is simply lying to the American people about UFO's'. According to Leonard: "A lot of people at the top are scared. One set of pictures, in one area alone, was enough to bring about secret briefings of top people around the world"!
More sensation from the crypt of astronaut folklore concerns the fate of an unnamed pair of Russian cosmonauts! In the very early days of space flight it was alleged that one of the first Russian missions was lost without trace. Prior to contact being severed it is said the crew became increasingly alarmed . An intercepted message claimed the following exchange: "It's closing on us ..... it is truly massive...if we don't get back the world will never know of this". At this point transmission was abruptly severed and the story has it the pair were never heard from again!
An equally sinister shroud of mystery veils the strange events concerning the flight of the Soviet space ship Voskhod 1. In 1964 this was successfully launched on a five day mission which in the event lasted barely 24 hours. The exact circumstances behind this abrupt curtailment may never be known, but it is widely thought that a prime factor was a sudden encounter with a UFO! A German newspaper commented that the Soviet craft 'was repeatedly overtaken by extremely fast flying discs which struck the craft violent shattering blows with their powerful magnetic fields".
A year later the crafts successor Voskhod 2 became embroiled in a similar incident. According to some accounts the crew admitted sighting a peculiar shaped object close to their craft. Moments later all communication with ground control was severed and remained so for several hours.
As a result of these incidents and others like it Soviet cosmonauts were later trained in the correct procedure to adopt in dealing with these alien space craft. In fact not so long ago Marina Popovich, a Colonel in the Russian military, and herself a former test pilot, openly admitted that today's cosmonauts are routinely taught the proper protocol of dealing with aliens.
This acknowledgement of the existence of alien visitation of Earth even extended to the father of the German rocket programme Hermann Oberth. At a news conference he announced: " There is no doubt in my mind that these objects are planetary craft of some sort"!
Across the Atlantic in America the US space programme brought its own spate of curious incidents. In 1966 two bright red glowing objects captured the attention of astronauts Young and Collins as they circled the Earth. At the time they had ventured further into space than any other human.. Suddenly both astronauts were amazed to find they were no longer alone. Two bright red glowing objects now occupied the same orbital path. The astronauts immediately informed Mission Control, who in turn requested further information. In their words: "If you can get a bearing maybe we can track them down."! Just at that particular moment astronaut Young radios back: "They just disappeared...."!
The official verdict attributed the sighting to space junk discarded from an unmanned Saturn rocket earlier that month. A cosy explanation, but one that fails to explain the erratic movements of the objects as they left orbit and disappeared so quickly. The astronauts were adamant these were not stars and it is difficult to image what man-made device of that time could emit a glowing red light so far out there in space!
Pulling the plug.
Author Frank Edwards claimed that NASA deliberately pulled the plug on the voice link to the astronauts to avoid creating a sensation. In his book "Flying Saucers - Here and Now" , he makes the following allegation: "Friends of mine who were present at the Space Centre during this incident tell me that the voice of astronaut Young was cut off the intercom for more than a minute as he began describing what he was watching. By the time he came back on the intercom he seemed to have been briefed, for that was when he "guessed" that he had only been seeing some satellite!"
Author Edwards maintains that as cameras became more prevalent aboard space flights, Mission Control initiated a 5 second tape delay before releasing the pictures back to the networks. Ostensibly this was in the interests of "good taste"! Comments Edwards: " NASA seemed to be afraid that these foul talking astronauts might say a bad word.....something like UFO perhaps"?
The Hubble enigma.
An instance of public space transmission being cut in the face of embarrassing circumstances occurred quite recently on a Space Shuttle mission to repair the Hubble space telescope. The incident which was broadcast on a special edition of Strange but True, contains audio exerpts of astronauts puzzled by strange flashing lights seen moving around the Space Shuttle on February 18th of this year. Shown to a background picture of Mission Control, the astronauts can be heard talking routinely to one another before one of them cries out: "What a flash! I saw a light flash.....there it is again"!
So unusual is the incident that one astronaut imagines he is seeing things, but his companion then confirms the sighting. Seconds later one of them observes: "There's two of them.....there's another one. What are they"? Apparently the flashing lights continue. One of the astronauts makes a joke about them: " Who'd be taking pictures"? he wonders. The other responds: "It's just gone past in front of us . Further lights! Gone up!"
At this point the picture shows a supervisor stride across to the Mission Control director and both pictures and sound terminate abruptly. The studio discussion on the incident has one "expert" believe that at the time of the incident the two astronauts are actually inside the Shuttle, unable to see out, and that the lights are LED's on a control panel. This rather naive explanation fails to account for the fact that in the words of the astronauts the lights are most definitely moving. Their genuine surprise suggests this is a situation they have never encountered before, and one of the astronauts actually questions whether he is seeing things. The fact is that whatever they are looking at is quite obviously more than just a pair of malfunctioning diodes on a control panel. Interestingly NASA declined to comment on the incident.
Perhaps the best documented astronaut sighting occurred aboard Gemini 7 in 1965. Astronaut Mc Divitt saw "a cylindrical object with an antenna-like extension". According to Mc Divitt's account of the incident the distance of the object, which was silvery in appearance, was impossible to gauge, but at least initially was more than just several miles distant. At that time it was in "free drifting flight" over the Pacific Ocean. Suddenly the craft appeared to change direction till it was on a collision course towards them. Hastily the astronauts began to consider preparations for avoiding action, but the craft ran past them without incident.
A further drama aboard Gemini 4 concerned a bright object going from "south to north", above the space craft. Later investigation deepened the mystery still further when it was confirmed there was no satellite traffic in the area at that time!
Yet an another strange sighting occurred aboard Gemini 7. Astronauts Borman and Lovell reported sighting a "bogey" at ten o'clock high. Exchanges with Mission Control confirmed this was not the rocket booster and subsequently a variety of small particles - never properly explained - were observed at a distance of 3 or 4 miles.
Each of the three above mentioned incidents was thoroughly investigated by the infamous Condon Inquiry. The conclusion was that the incidents were definitely "unexplained", and in the "highest category of credibility"! And as Edgar Mitchell reveals a lot of people know a lot more than they're telling, astonishing revelations that must eventually become known!