Summary: Quotes from several US and USSR astronauts regarding UFOs.
Gordon Cooper, Astronaut (Mercury-Atlas 9, May 15, 1963; Gemini 5, August 21, 1965), Col. USAF (Ret); letter to Granada's Ambassador Griffith at the United Nations, November 9, 1978:
"I wanted to convey to you my views on our extra-terrestrial visitors popularly referred to as ' UFOs,' and suggest what might be done to properly deal with them.
"I believe that these extra-terrestrial vehicles and their crews are visiting this planet from other planets, which obviously are a little more technically advanced than we are here on earth. I feel that we need to have a top level, coordinated program to scientifically collect and analyze data from all over the earth concerning any type of encounter, and to determine how best to interface with these visitors in a friendly fashion. We may first have to show them that we have learned to resolve our problems by peaceful means, rather than warfare, before we are accepted as fully qualified universal team members. This acceptance would have tremendous possibilities of advancing our world in all areas. Certainly then it would seem that the UN has a vested interest in handling this subject properly and expeditiously.
"I should point out that I am not an experienced UFO professional researcher. I have not yet had the privilege of flying a UFO, nor of meeting the crew of one. I do feel that I am somewhat qualified to discuss them since I have been into the fringes of the vast areas in which they travel. Also, I did have occasion in 1951 to have two days of observation of many flights of them, of different sizes, flying in fighter formation, generally from east to west over Europe. They were at a higher altitude than we could reach with our jet fighters of that time.
"I would also like to point out that most astronauts are very reluctant to even discuss UFOs due to the great numbers of people who have indiscriminately sold fake stories and forged documents abusing their names and reputations without hesitation. Those few astronauts who have continued to have participation in the UFO field have had to do so very cautiously. There are several of us who do believe in UFOs and who have had occasion to see a UFO on the ground, or from an airplane. There was only one occasion from space which may have been a UFO.
"If the UN agrees to pursue this project, and to lend their credibility to it, perhaps many more well qualified people will agree to step forth and provide help and information." (Good, T., ibid.)
On several occasions, he described his own sighting in Germany in 1951:
"Several days in a row we sighted groups of metallic, saucer-shaped vehicles at great altitudes over the base, and we tried to get close to them, but they were able to change direction faster than our fighters. I do believe UFOs exist and that the truly unexplained ones are from some other technologically advanced civilization. From my association with aircraft and spacecraft, I think I have a pretty good idea of what everyone on this planet has and their performance capabilities, and I'm sure some of the UFOs at least are not from anywhere on Earth." (Omni, Vol. 2, No. 6, March 1980.)
Donald (Deke) Slayton, "Mercury Seven" astronaut, stated in an interview, that he had seen a UFO in 1951:
"I was testing a P-51 fighter in Minneapolis when I spotted this object. I was at about 10,000 feet on a nice, bright, sunny afternoon. I thought the object was a kite, then realized that no kite is gonna [sic] fly that high. As I got closer, it looked like a weather balloon, gray and about three feet in diameter. But as soon as I got behind the darn thing, it didn't look like a balloon anymore. It looked like a saucer, a disc. About that same time, I realized that it was suddenly going away from me - and there I was, running at about 300 miles an hour. I tracked it for a little while, and then all of sudden the damn thing just took off. It pulled about a 45-degree climbing turn and accelerated and just flat disappeared. A couple of days later, I was having a beer with my commanding officer, and I thought, ' What the hell, I'd better mention something to him about it.' I did, and he told me to get on down to intelligence and give them a report. I did, and I never heard anything more on it." (National Enquirer, October 23, 1979.)
Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 lunar module pilot and founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences:
"I've changed my position in the last two or three years - the last two years to be precise - to suggest that the evidence is strong enough that we really need to have serious open discussion and release of information that it is quite clear the government and other governments do hold, and that this become a part of our official knowledge... Now, whether it's true or not, it deserves to be handled with a serious investigation. There is too much smoke here not to be fire, and so I personally in the last couple of years have come out - I don't know the answers, but I've come out - and I say, this has gone far enough. If it's real, let's get it out in the open; let's break the deadlock that bureaucracy has on this. There is enough evidence pointing in the direction that clearly there is information being withheld. How far we can go with it, I don't know." (Excerpt from his lecture "Science and the Inner Experience" sponsored by the friends of The Institute of Noetic Sciences, New York City, December 4, 1991.)
Al Worden, Apollo 15 astronaut who later became a poet. In a lengthy interview in a documentary produced for the 20th anniversary of the landing on the Moon, Worden discussed his views that Earth was probably visited in the past by extraterrestrial explorers. He began by commenting on the well known "UFO interpretation" of the vision of the prophet Ezekiel in the Bible:
"And a literal translation describes very clearly a spacecraft with the ability to land vertically and take-off vertically, and it was an object that looked very much like the Lunar Module that we used on the Moon; and if it's going to land vertically and take-off vertically, it had to come from some place and go back some place.
"In my mind the universe has to be cyclic, so that in one galaxy if there is a planet maybe that has arrived at the point of becoming unlivable, you will find in another part of a different galaxy a planet that has just formed which is perfect for habitation. I see some kind of intelligent being, like us, skipping around the universe from planet to planet as, let's say, the South Pacific Indians do on the islands, where they skip from island to island. When the first island blows up due to a volcano, they will have their progeny on all these other islands and they will be able to continue the species. I think that's what the [alien] space program is all about.
"I think we may be a combination of creatures that were living here on Earth some time in the past, and having a visitation, if you will, by creatures from somewhere else in the universe, and those two species getting together and having progeny. I am not at all convinced that we are not the result of that particular union some many thousands of years ago. If that is the case in fact, a very small group of explorers could land on a planet and create successors to themselves that would eventually take up the pursuit of, let's say, inhabiting the rest of the universe." (Excerpts from his interview in the documentary "The Other Side of the Moon," produced by Michael G. Lemle, and broadcast by PBS in July 1989.)
Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Commander:
"I'm one of those guys who has never seen a UFO. But I've been asked, and I've said publicly I thought they were somebody else; some other civilization..." (Chriss, Nicholas, "Cernan Says Other Earths Exist," Los Angeles Times, January 6, 1973.)
Story Musgrave, Space shuttle astronaut who flew on the repair mission of the Hubble Space Telescope:
"I try to communicate with the life that's out there. I'm serious. It is not that far out. When I'm circling around out there, I try in whatever ways I can to get them to come down here and get me." (The Houston Post, December 1, 1993.)
Yevegni Khrunov, Soyuz-5 spacecraft pilot in 1969:
"Is the presence of extraterrestrial civilizations conceivable? Of course. Before the uniqueness of the earth is demonstrated, this assumption should be taken as quite legitimate. As regards UFOs, their presence cannot be denied: thousands of people have seen them. It may be that their source is optical effects, but some of their properties, for instance, their ability to change course by 90 degrees at great speed, simply stagger the imagination." (Sputnik, "UFOs Through the Eyes of Cosmonauts," December 1980.)
Vladimir Kovalyonok, Major-General of Aviation stated:
"On May 5, 1981, we were in orbit [in the Salyut-6 space station]. I saw an object that didn't resemble any cosmic objects I'm familiar with. It was a round object which resembled a melon, round and a little bit elongated. In front of this object was something that resembled a gyrating depressed cone. I can draw it, it's difficult to describe. The object resembles a barbell. I saw it becoming transparent and like with a ' body' inside. At the other end I saw something like gas discharging, like a reactive object. Then something happened that is very difficult for me to describe from the point of view of physics. Last year in the magazine Nature I read about a physicist... we tried together to explain this phenomenon and we decided it was a ' plasmaform.' I have to recognize that it did not have an artificial origin. It was not artificial because an artificial object couldn't attain this form. I don't know of anything that can make this movement... tightening, then expanding, pulsating. Then as I was observing, something happened, two explosions. One explosion, and then 0.5 seconds later, the second part exploded. I called my colleague Viktor [Savinykh], but he didn't arrive in time to see anything.
"What are the particulars? First conclusion: the object moved in a suborbital path, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to see it. There were two clouds, like smoke, that formed a barbell. It came near me and I watched it. Then we entered in to the shade for two or three minutes after this happened. When we came out of the shade we didn't see anything. But during a certain time, we and the craft were moving together." (Videotaped interview with Giorgio Bongiovanni in the village of Kosnikov, near Moscow, 1993. Videotape courtesy of Michael Hesemann.)
Major-General Pavel Popovich, pioneer Cosmonaut, "Hero of the Soviet Union," and the President of All-Union Ufology Association of the Commonwealth of Independent States:
"Today it can be stated with a high degree of confidence that observed manifestations of UFOs are no longer confined to the modern picture of the world, or the simple refutation of the orthodox natural science paradigm. The historical evidence of the phenomenon, the singularity of its newly gained kinematic, energetic, and psychophysical features allows us to hypothesize that ever since mankind has been co-existing with this extraordinary substance, it has manifested a high level of intelligence and technology. The UFO sightings have become the constant component of human activity and require a serious global study. In order to realize the position of man on earth and in the universe, ufology, the scientific study of the UFO phenomenon, should take place in the midst of other sciences dealing with man and the world...
"The influence the UFO has on people, as well as the effects it produces, should become the items of special research. The UFO's interaction with the environment, the behavior that it motivates, and its genesis, also present interesting areas for concentrated study. Today, many specialists have come to the opinion that [UFO] phenomenon research should be taken up along with understanding and comprehension of other unexplained phenomena... The development of new approaches for the identification and study of energy and information processes will allow for an enthusiastic move toward the comprehension of the phenomenon. The results of these studies should aid the survival of the people on earth...
"It's necessary to carry out the popular ufological enlightenment, since the probability for a meeting of a person with a UFO exists, and this person should be ready for this event. Precautionary measures are especially important. It's necessary to tell the truth, which has been distorted previously by the politically engaged sciences and most recently by ufological dilettantes. The main purpose of the primary local groups, that of controlling the ufological situation, mustn't be forgotten. The ufologists should know all the UFO's landing places and contacts in their regions. They should have relations with the local authorities, and in particular, with the police, the civil defense bodies, as well as information, scientific, and medical organizations." (Popovich, P., "Ufology in the Commonwealth of Independent States: Organization Problems," in the MUFON 1992 International UFO Symposium Proceedings.)