by Timothy Good
The National Aeronautics and
Space Administration, established in 1958, coordinates and directs the
aeronautical and space research program in the United States. Its budget
for space activities alone is larger than the general budgets of a number
of the world's important countries.
Although officially a civilian
agency, NASA collaborates with the Department of Defense, National
Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, and other agencies, and
many of its personnel have security clearances owing to the sensitive
intelligence aspects of its programs. Research into UFOs is one such
In May 1962 NASA pilot Joseph A. Walker admitted
that it was one of his appointed tasks to detect unidentified objects
during his flights in the rocket-powered X-15 aircraft, and referred to
five or six cylindrical shaped objects that he had filmed during his
record-breaking high flight in April that year.
also admitted that it was the second occasion on which he had filmed UFOs
don't feel like talking about them," he said during a lecture at the
Second National Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Space Research in
Seattle, Washington. "All I know is what appeared on the film which was
developed after the flight."
Britain's FSR magazine cabled NASA headquarters requesting further
information and copies of stills from the film taken by Walker.
"Objects reported by NASA pilot Joe Walker have now been
identified as ice flaking off the X-15 aircraft," NASA replied.
"Analysis of additional cameras mounted on top the X-15 led to
identification of the previously unidentifiable objects. . . . No still
photos are available." [Emphasis added.]
July 1962 Major Robert White piloted an X-15 to a height of
fifty-eight miles at the top of his climb, and on his return reported
having seen as strange object.
have no idea what it could be," he said. "It was grayish in color and
about thirty to forty feet away."
Then, according to Time magazine, Major White is reported to
have said excitedly over his radio:
"There are things out there. There absolutely is!"
years ago," a NASA scientist said in 1967, "most of us regarded UFOs as
a branch of witchcraft, one of the foibles of modern man. But so many
reputable people have expressed interest in confidence to NASA, that I
would not be in the least surprised to see the space agency begin work
on a UFO study contract within the next twelve months."
of those who expressed interest was Dr. Allen Hynek, who wanted
NASA to use its superlative space-tracking network to monitor and document
the entry of unidentified objects into the Earth's atmosphere. The problem
then—as now—is that UFO sightings tracked by NASA remain exempt from
public disclosure since they are classified top secret. But there have
In April 1964 two radar technicians at Cape Kennedy
revealed that they had observed UFOs in pursuit of an unmanned Gemini
space capsule. And in January 1961 it was reliably reported that the
Cape's automatic tracking gear locked on to a mysterious object which was
apparently following a Polaris missile over the South Atlantic.
1967 NASA Management Instruction established procedures for handling
reports of sightings of objects such as,
"fragments or component parts of space vehicles known or alleged
by an observer to have impacted upon the earth's surface as a result of
safety destruct action, failure in flight, or re-entry into the earth's
atmosphere," and also includes "reports of sightings of objects not
related to space vehicles."
rather euphemistic way of putting it, to be sure, but the internal
"It is KSC [Kennedy Space Center] policy to respond to reported
sightings of space vehicle fragments and unidentified flying objects as
promptly as possible. . . . Under no circumstances will the origin of
the object be discussed with the observer or person making the call.''
1978 NASA information sheet gives the agency's official policy on
NASA is the focal point for answering public enquiries to the
White House relating to UFOs. NASA is not engaged in a research program
involving these phenomena, nor is any other government agency. Reports
of unidentified objects entering United States air space are of interest
to the military as a regular part of defense surveillance. Beyond that,
the U.S. Air Force no longer investigates reports of UFO sightings.
1978 CAUS (Citizens Against UFO Secrecy) filed a request for
information relating to a NASA report entitled UFO Study Considerations,
which had previously been prepared in association with the CIA.
his response, Miles Waggoner of NASA's Public Information Services
Branch denied this.
"There were no formal meetings or any correspondence with the
CIA," he stated.
Following another enquiry by CAUS, NASA's Associate Administrator
for External Relations, Kenneth Chapman, explained that the NASA
report had been prepared solely by NASA employees but that the CIA had
been consulted by telephone to determine,
"whether they were aware of any tangible or physical UFO evidence
that could be analyzed; the CIA responded that they were aware of no
such evidence, either classified or unclassified."
NASA's statement in the 1978 information sheet that it was not
engaged in a research program involving UFOs, "nor is any other government
agency," is demonstrably false, as is its denial of Air Force
In a leaked secret document purporting to
originate with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations
(AFOSI) headquarters at Boiling Air Force Base, DC, there appears
an intriguing reference to clandestine government UFO research, led by
document is dated 17 November 1980, and includes this relevant passage:
SEVERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, LED BY NASA, ACTIVELY INVESTIGATE
LEGITIMATE SIGHTINGS THROUGH COVERT COVER. . . . ONE SUCH COVER IS UFO
REPORTING CENTER, U.S. COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY, ROCKVILLE, MD 20852.
NASA FILTERS RESULTS OF SIGHTINGS TO APPROPRIATE MILITARY DEPARTMENTS
WITH INTEREST IN THAT PARTICULAR SIGHTING.
"We have no
information relative to the contents of the document," NASA told me in
1985. "Additionally, we have been informed that [it] is not an authentic
this case, NASA is right. Although substantially legitimate, the document
is a re-typed version containing errors, including the reference to NASA,
which should be NSA—the National Security Agency.
PRESIDENT CARTER SEEKS TORE-OPEN
During his election campaign in 1976,
Jimmy Carter revealed that he had seen a UFO at Leary, Georgia, in
1969, together with witnesses, prior to giving a speech at the local Lions
"It was the dandiest thing I've ever seen," he told reporters.
"It was big, it was very bright, it changed colors, and it was about the
size of the moon. We watched it for ten minutes, but none of us could
figure out what it was. One thing's for sure; I'll never make fun of
people who say they've seen unidentified objects in the sky."
Carter's sighting has been ridiculed by skeptics such as Philip
Klass and Robert Sheaffer. While there appear to be legitimate
grounds for disputing the date of the incident, Sheaffer's verdict that
the UFO was nothing more exotic than the planet Venus is not tenable. As a
graduate in nuclear physics who served as a line officer on U.S. Navy
nuclear submarines, Carter would not have been fooled by anything so
prosaic as Venus, and in any case he described the UFO as being about the
same size as the Moon.
"If I become President," Carter vowed, "I'll make every piece of
information this country has about UFO sightings available to the public
and the scientists."
Although President Carter did all he could to fulfill his election
pledge, he was thwarted, and it is clear that NASA had a hand in blocking
his attempts to re-open investigations. When Carter's science adviser, Dr.
Frank Press, wrote to NASA administrator Dr. Robert Frosch
in February 1977 suggesting that NASA should become the "focal point for
the UFO question," Dr. Frosch replied that although he was prepared to
continue responding to public enquiries, he proposed that "NASA take no
steps to establish a research activity in this area or to convene a
symposium on this subject."
In a letter from Colonel Charles
Senn, Chief of the Air Force Community Relations Division, to
Lieutenant General Duward Crow of NASA, dated 1 September 1977,
Colonel Senn made the following astonishing statement:
sincerely hope that you are successful in preventing a re-opening of UFO
it is clear that NASA (as well as the Air Force and almost
certainly the CIA and National Security Agency NSA) was
anxious to ensure that the President's election pledge remained
DR. JAMES MCDONALD
James McDonald, senior physicist at the Institute of Atmospheric
Physics and Professor in the Department of Meteorology at the University
of Arizona, who committed suicide in unusual circumstances in 1971, tried
unsuccessfully to persuade NASA to take on primary responsibility for UFO
reported in 1967:
Curiously, I have said this both in NASA and fairly widely
reported public discussions before scientific colleagues, yet the
response from NASA has been nil. . . . Even attempting to get a small
group within NASA to undertake a study group approach to the available
published effort seems to have generated no response. I realize, of
course, that there may be semi-political considerations that make it
awkward for NASA to fish in these waters at present, but if this is what
is holding up serious scientific attention to the UFO problem at NASA,
this is all the more reason Congress had better take a good hard look at
the problem and reshuffle the deck. ...
have learned from a number of unquotable sources that the Air Force has
long wished to get rid of the burden of the troublesome UFO problem and
has twice tried to "poddlo" it to NASA— without success.
While McDonald recognized that there were "semi-political
considerations" affecting NASA's reluctance to become publicly involved in
UFO investigations, he failed to perceive that UFOs are more an
intelligence problem than a scientific one.
was simply unaware of the true extent of NASA's secret involvement.
One of the
great pioneers in astronautics is Dr. Hermann Oberth, whom I had
the honor of meeting in 1972.
1955 Oberth was invited by Dr. Wernher von Braun to go to the
United States where he worked on rockets with the Army Ballistic Missile
Agency, and later NASA at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center.
Oberth's statements on the UFO question have always been unequivocal, and
he told me that he is convinced UFOs are extraterrestrial in origin.
the following he elaborated on his hypothesis for UFO propulsion:
. . today we cannot produce machines that fly as UFOs do. They are
flying by means of artificial fields of gravity. This would explain the
sudden changes of directions. . . . This hypothesis would also explain
the piling up of these discs into a cylindrical or cigar-shaped
mothership upon leaving the earth, because in this fashion only one
field of gravity would be required for all discs.
high-tension electric charges in order to push the air out of their
path. . . and strong magnetic fields to influence the ionized air at
higher altitudes. . . . This would explain their luminosity. . . .
Secondly, it would explain the noiselessness of UFO flight. Finally,
this assumption also explains the strong electrical and magnetic effects
sometimes, but not always, observed in the vicinity of UFOs.
Earlier, Dr. Oberth hinted that there had been actual contact with
the UFOs at a scientific level.
"We cannot take credit for our record advancement in certain
scientific fields alone; we have been helped," he is quoted as having
said. When asked by whom, he replied: "The people of other worlds."
There are persistent rumors that the U.S. has even test-flown a few
advanced vehicles, based on information allegedly acquired as a result of
contact with extra-terrestrials and the study of grounded UFOs.
1959 Dr. Wernher von Braun,
another great space pioneer, made an intriguing statement, reported in
Germany. Referring to the deflection from orbit of the U.S. Juno 2 rocket,
"We find ourselves faced by powers which are far stronger than we
had hitherto assumed, and whose base is at present unknown to us. More I
cannot say at present. We are now engaged in entering into closer
contact with those powers, and in six or nine months' time it may be
possible to speak with more precision on the matter." [Emphasis added.]
There has been nothing further published on the matter. As Dr.
Robert Sarbacher has commented, von Braun was probably involved in
the recoveries of crashed UFOs in the late 1940s, and it is my opinion
that he was constrained from elaborating on the subject owing to the
security oath that he must have been subject to. I cannot prove this, of
course, any more than I can substantiate information I have received from
a reliable source that top secret contacts have been made by
extraterrestrials with selected scientists in the space program.
must be admitted, though, that von Braun's statement comes close to
corroborating this. What else could he have meant when he said,
"We are now engaged in entering into closer contact with those
NASA WITHHOLDS PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
That NASA has been engaged in UFO research behind the
scenes is alone proven, to my satisfaction at least, by its shady
involvement in the analysis of metal samples discovered at the site where
Sergeant Lonnie Zamora encountered a landed UFO and occupants at
Socorro, New Mexico, in April 1964. On 31 July 1964 Ray Stanford and some
members of NICAP * visited NASA's Goddard Space
Flight Center at Greenbelt, Maryland, in order to have a rock with
particles of metal on it analyzed by NASA scientists.
* National Investigations Committee on
Henry Frankel, head of the Spacecraft Systems Branch, directed the
particles had apparently been scraped on to the rock by one of the UFO's
landing legs. On first inspection of the rock through a microscope, Dr.
Frankel declared that some of the particles "look like they may have been
in a molten state when scraped onto the rock," and expressed the desire to
remove them from the rock for further analysis. Stanford agreed to this,
but said that he wanted to retain half of the particles for his own use.
The researchers were invited to go to lunch while NASA engineers
conducted their analysis. After lunch, Stanford and the others (Richard
Hall, Robert McGarey and Walter Webb), returned to the laboratory
NASA technician brought the rock over to the group.
"As he handed it to me," said Stanford, "I was able to carefully
observe it in the bright light inside the room. The whole thing had been
scraped clean. Someone had gone over that rock with the equivalent of a
fine-toothed comb. There was nothing, not a speck of the metal left. . .
even the very few tiny particles that I had known were rather
well-hidden had been removed."
Stanford complained, the technician insisted that half of the samples were
still on the rock, as promised, but seeing Stanford's disbelief hastily
left the room.
Frankel then returned, and after Stanford had remonstrated with him,
explained what had happened.
"Well, we tried to leave you some," he said, "but we also had to
get enough to make an accurate analysis. The sample will be placed under
radiation this afternoon, where it will remain the entire weekend.
Monday, we will remove it for X-ray diffraction tests. That should tell
us the elements it contains ... if you will call me, say on Wednesday, I
should be able to tell you something very definite."
Before contacting Dr. Frankel again, Stanford and McGarey had a
meeting with a U.S. Navy captain in Washington who was interested in the
Socorro case. The captain told the researchers that they would never get
their metal samples back from Frankel.
"If that metal is in any way unusual," he said, "he will never
give you any documentation to prove it . . . Those boys at Goddard know
that they must report any findings as important as a strange, UFO alloy
to the highest authority in NASA. Once that authority receives the news,
the President will be informed, for the matter is pertinent to national
security and stability. A security directive will instruct those
self-appointed authorities at Goddard as to just whose hands the matter
is really in. .. ."
August 1964 Ray Stanford phoned Dr. Frankel at the Goddard Space
"I'm glad you called," the scientist said. "I have some news that
I think will make you happy."
The particles are comprised of a material that could not occur
naturally. Specifically, it consists predominantly of two metallic
elements, and there is something that is rather exciting about the
zinc-iron alloy of which we find the particles to consist: Our charts of
all alloys known to be manufactured on Earth, the U.S.S.R. included, do
not show any alloy of the specific combination or ratio of the two main
elements involved here. This finding definitely strengthens the case
that might be made for an extraterrestrial origin of the Socorro
Frankel added that the alloy would make,
"an excellent, highly malleable, and corrosive-resistant coating
for a spacecraft landing gear, or for about anything where those
qualities are needed."
also said that he was prepared to make a statement before a Congressional
hearing to this effect, if necessary.
Frankel went on to say that
further analysis would be carried out, and that Stanford should call him
again the following week. On 12 August Stanford placed a call to Frankel,
but was told by his secretary that he was "not available" and suggested he
try contacting him the following day.
13 August Stanford phoned again.
"Dr. Frankel simply is not available today," the secretary
announced. "He wonders if you might try him the first part of next
17 August Stanford rang Frankel's office, only to be told yet again that
he was not available. Ominously, the secretary added:
"Dr. Frankel is unprepared, at this time, to discuss the
information you are calling about."
18 August Stanford tried again.
"I'm sorry," the secretary said, "but Dr. Frankel is in a
top-level security conference. I doubt that he will be able to talk with
you until tomorrow or the next day."
Failing to get hold of Frankel the following day, Stanford left a
telephone number with the secretary. On 20 August Thomas P. Sciacca
Jr. of NASA's Spacecraft Systems Branch phoned Stanford.
have been appointed to call you and report the official conclusion of
the Socorro sample analysis," he said. "Dr. Frankel is no longer
involved with the matter, so in response to your repeated enquiries, I
want to tell you the results of the analysis. Everything you were told
earlier by Dr. Frankel was a mistake. The sample was determined to be
1967 Dr. Allen Hynek invited Ray Stanford to a lecture he
was giving in Phoenix, and afterwards Hynek asked:
"Whatever happened with the analysis at Goddard of that metallic
sample from the rock you took from the Socorro site?"
Hynek and Stanford had been closely involved in investigations at the
landing site, but Stanford was puzzled as to how Hynek knew about the NASA
was not sure where Hynek had learned of the fact that I had taken the
rock which Lonnie Zamora had pointed out to both of us, and which the
astronomer had ignored," he said. "I was interested to note that he
specifically knew it was analyzed at Goddard. That fact had never been
Stanford told Hynek that NASA's "official" analysis had revealed it
to be common silica.
"That cannot be true!" exclaimed Hynek.
am familiar with the analysis techniques involved. Silica could not be
mistaken for a zinc-iron alloy. They haven't given you the truth! I
would accept Frankel's original report and forget the later disclaimer."
Given that the original analysis was accurate it is worth recording
NASA Administrator Dr. Robert Frosch's statement in the letter he wrote to
President Carter's science advisor, Dr. Frank Press, in 1977:
"There is an absence of tangible or physical evidence available
for thorough laboratory analysis ... To proceed [therefore] on a
research task without a disciplinary framework and an exploratory
technique in mind would be wasteful and probably unproductive."
THE SILVER SPRING FILM
first book I devoted a chapter to the controversial 8mm color movie film
taken by George Adamski in the
presence of Madeleine Rodeffer and other unnamed witnesses outside
Madeleine's home at Silver Spring, Maryland, in February 1965.
have been taken to task for endorsing the authenticity of this "obviously
fake" film taken by a "proven charlatan," but I have yet to see any
conclusive evidence that it was actually faked. Both my co-author Lou
Zinsstag and I exposed as many of the inconsistencies in Adamski's
claims that were available to us at the time of writing, but that short
piece of film, taken a few months before Adamski's death, remains
authentic in my opinion at least.
Sometime between 3 and 4 P.M. on
26 February 1965 an unidentified craft of the famous type photographed by
Adamski in 1952 (and others subsequently) described a series of maneuvers
over Madeleine's front yard, retracting and lowering one of its three pods
and making a gentle humming and swishing sound as it did so.
Adamski began filming the craft with Madeleine's 8 mm camera.
"It looked blackish-brown or grayish-brown at times," Madeleine
told me, "but when it came in close it looked greenish and bluish, and
it looked aluminium: it depended on which way it was tilting. Then at
one point it actually stood absolutely still between the bottom of the
steps and the driveway."
craft then disappeared from view, but reappeared above the roof and
described maneuvers once more before finally disappearing vertically.
Madeleine told me that she could make out human figures at the portholes,
but details were obscured.
When the film was developed the
following week something was obviously wrong with many of the frames and
it was apparent that it had been interfered with. Obviously faked frames
had been substituted by person or persons unknown.
"They took the original film," Madeleine believes, "and what I
think they did was rephotograph portions of the original... and then
fake some stuff. The film I got back is not the original film at all."
Fortunately enough frames showing the craft as they had remembered
it survived out of the twenty-five feet that had been taken, and these
were analyzed by William T. Sherwood, an optical physicist who was
formerly a senior project development engineer for the Eastman-Kodak
Company in Rochester, NY. I spent many hours discussing the film with
Bill, and in 1968 he provided me with a brief technical summary of his
evaluations as they related to the prints he made from the "original"
It's hard to capture the nuances of the original film. None
of the movie duplicates are good: too much contrast. The outlines look
"peculiar" due to distortions, I believe, caused by the "force-field." The
glow beneath the flange is, I think, significant. Incidentally, the tree
[near the top of which the craft maneuvered] is very high (90 ft?).
Roughly, the geometry of imagery is this:
1977 Bill Sherwood sent me further details of his evaluations: The
camera was a Bell & Howell Animation Autoload Standard 8, Model 315,
with a fl.8 lens, 9-29 mm, used in the 9mm position.... As you can
measure, the image on the film (original) is about 2.7mm maximum. So for
a 90 ft distant object, [the diameter] would be about 27 feet. ... It
was a large tree, and the limb that the saucer seems to "touch" could
have been about that distance from the camera . . . but unfortunately I
could not find a single frame where the saucer could clearly be said to
be behind the limb. So it is not conclusive as for distance, and
therefore for size. ... In some of the frames of the original, portholes
reply to my query as to whether it was possible to authenticate the film
unequivocally, Bill said that there is no absolutely foolproof way of
assessing whether a photo is "real" or not. One must just take everything
into account, including as much as one can learn about the person
involved, and then make an educated guess.
the final analysis, he said, it comes down to this question:
"Is this the kind of person whom I can imagine going to all the
trouble and expense of simulating what only a well-equipped studio with
a large budget could begin to approximate, and defending it through the
years with no apparent gain and much inconvenience?"
of the peculiarities of the film is that the outlines of the craft look
peculiarly distorted at times. Bill Sherwood believes this is due to a
powerful gravitational field that produces optical distortions, an opinion
that is shared by Leonard Cramp, an aeronautical engineer and
designer who has worked for De Havilland, Napier, Saunders-Roe, and
Westland Aircraft companies.
his pioneering book, Piece for a Jig-Saw, Cramp
proposed a theory to account for this peculiar effect:
Earlier, when discussing light in terms of the G [gravitational
field] theory, we saw how we might expect such a field to form an
atmospheric lens, producing optical effects which might be further
augmented by other field effects as well as the gravitational bending of
Now it follows that if there would be a local increase in
atmospheric pressure due to a powerful G field, then similarly we could
expect a decrease in atmospheric pressure to accompany a powerful R
[repulsion] field, and again we would not be surprised to find optical
effects... we can now say, while a G field might produce optical
magnifying properties, an R field could produce optical reducing
Leonard Cramp had not seen the Silver Spring film
prior to publishing his book, and was delighted that it seemed to confirm
his hypothesis. Like Bill Sherwood and myself, he is in no doubt
that the film is authentic.
On 27 February 1967 (two years
after it had been taken) the film was shown to twenty-two NASA officials
at the Goddard Space Flight Center. Discussion afterwards lasted for an
hour and a half, and just before Madeleine left, one of the two friends
with her was allegedly told that it was "a very important piece of film"
and that the craft was twenty-seven feet in diameter (the figure
calculated independently by Bill Sherwood). Unfortunately, I have been
unable to confirm this.
In reply to my queries, NASA
scientist Paul D. Lowman Jr., of the Geophysics Branch at
Goddard, stated that according to one of those present, Herbert A.
Tiedemann, everyone considered the Silver Spring film to be
Lowman, who had helped set up the meeting but was unable to attend,
offered the following comments on the color photos from the film that I
First, it is not possible to make any precise determination of
the object's size from the relationship (which is basically correct)
quoted by Mr. Sherwood. Given any three of these quantities, one can
calculate the fourth. The focal length and image size are obviously
known, but not the distance, which can only be roughly estimated. The
equation can be no better than its most inexact quantity, and one might
as well just estimate the size of the object directly.
own strong impression is that these frames show a small object, perhaps
up to 2 or 3 feet across, a short distance from the camera. Judging from
the photo of Mrs. Rodeffer's house, a 27 foot UFO would have occupied
most of the cleared area in the front yard, and from such a short
distance would have been a very large photographic object.
Although Bill Sherwood readily concedes that his estimate of
the precise distance from the camera is arbitrary, he is sure that it is
reasonably accurate, and my own tests at the site show that, with the
camera lens set on wide angle (as it was at the time), an object of this
approximate size and distance would appear exactly as it does on the film.
either Adamski or Madeleine (or both) could have faked the film using a
small model, and then have the audacity to show it at NASA, seems
far-fetched in the extreme. Moreover, to produce the distortion effects as
well as the lowering and retracting of one of the pods with a small model,
is out of the question as far as I am concerned. As a semi-professional
photographer I can speak with some authority on the matter myself.
Following the death of Adamski, Madeleine Rodeffer experienced a
great deal of ridicule and harassment, and nearly all copies of the
"faked" film have been stolen—in the United States and elsewhere.
Two photographs of an identical craft were taken by young
Stephen Darbishire in the presence of his cousin Adrian Myers in
Coniston, England, in February 1954. For the benefit of those who contend
that Darbiahire had faked the pictures and recanted later, the following
statement from a letter he wrote to me in 1986 is illuminating:
. when I said that I had seen a UFO I was laughed at, attacked, and
surrounded by strange people. ... In desperation I remember I refuted
the statement and said it was a fake. I was counter-attacked, accused of
working with the "Dark Powers". . . or patronizingly "understood" for
following orders from some secret government department.
There was something. It happened a long time ago, and I do not
wish to be drawn into the labyrinth again. Unfortunately the negatives
were stolen and all the prints gone ...
In the early 1970s I had the pleasure of
several meetings in Britain and the United States with the former U.S.
Navy test pilot, intelligence officer, and pioneer astronaut Scott
Carpenter, who had reputedly seen UFOs and photographed one of them
during his flight in the Mercury 7 capsule on 24 May 1962. Scott
vehemently denied this, and poured scorn on other reports of sightings by
noticed that he appeared to be ill at ease when discussing the subject,
and whenever I produced documentary evidence for official concern in this
area he became visibly nervous. But in November 1972 Scott kindly wrote on
my behalf to astronauts Gordon Cooper, Dick Gordon, James Lovell and James
McDivitt, asking about reports attributed to them.
James Lovell replied as follows:
have to honestly say that during my four flights into space, I have not
seen or heard any phenomena that I could not explain.... / don't believe
any of us in the space program believe that there are such things as
UFOs.... However, most of us believe that there must be a star like our
sun that also has a planetary system [which] must support intelligent
life as we know it.... I hope this is sufficient information for Tim
Good, and I hope he isn't too disappointed in my answer. [Emphasis
according to the transcript of Lovell's flight on Gemini 7, an anomalous
object was encountered:
SPACECRAFT: Bogey at 10 o'clock high.
CAPCOM: This is Houston. Say again 7.
SPACECRAFT: Said we have a bogey at 10 o'clock high.
CAPCOM: Gemini 7, is that the booster or is that an actual
SPACECRAFT: We have several, looks like debris up here. Actual
CAPCOM: . . . Estimate distance or size?
SPACECRAFT: We also have the booster in sight . .
Franklin Roach, of the University of Colorado UFO study set
up by the Air Force in 1966, concluded that in addition to the booster
traveling in an orbit similar to that of the spacecraft,
"there was another bright object [the "bogey"] together with many
illuminated particles. It might be conjectured," he said, "that the
bogey and particles were fragments from the launching of Gemini 7, but
this is impossible if they were traveling in a polar orbit as they
appeared to be doing."
James McDivitt confirmed that although he did see an
unidentified object during the Gemini 4 flight on 4 June 1965, he does not
believe it was anomalous:
During Gemini 4, while we were in drifting flight, I noticed an
object out the front window of the spacecraft. It appeared to be
cylindrical in shape with a high fineness ratio. From one end protruded
a long, cylindrical pole with the approximate fineness of pencil. I had
no idea what the size was or what the distance to the object was. It
could have been very small and very near or very large and very far
I attempted to take a photograph of this object with each
of the two cameras we had on board. Since this object was only in my
view for a short time, I did not have time to properly adjust the
cameras and I just took the picture with whatever settings the camera
had at that time. The object appeared to be relatively close and I went
through the trouble of turning on the control system in case I needed to
take any evasive actions.
The spacecraft was in drifting flight
and when the sun shone on the duty window, the object disappeared from
view. I was unable to relocate it, since the attitude reference in the
spacecraft was also disabled, and I did not know which way to maneuver
to find it.
After landing, the film from Gemini 4 was flown back to Houston
immediately, whereas Ed White and I stayed on the aircraft
carrier for three days. During this period of time a film technician at
NASA evaluated the photographs and selected what he thought was the
photograph of this particular object. Unfortunately, what he selected
was a photo-graph of sunspots [flares] on the window and had nothing
whatsoever to do with the object that I had seen. The photograph was
released before I returned and had a chance to point out the error in
the selection. I, subsequently, went through the photographs myself and
was unable to find any photograph like the object I had seen.
Apparently, the camera settings were not appropriate for the
I do not feel that there was anything strange or
exotic about this particular object. Rather, only that I could not
identify it. In a combination of both Gemini 4 and Apollo 9 I saw
numerous satellites, some of which we identified and some of which we
didn't. ... I have seen a lot of objects that I could not identify, but
I have yet to see one that could be identified as a spaceship from some
other planet. I can't say that there aren't any, only that I haven't
seen any. I hope this helps Tim.
Neither Gordon Cooper nor Dick Gordon replied to
Scott's letter, it seems, and I have never been able to receive a reply
from Cooper, although he has spoken publicly of his interest in the
fact, interest in UFOs was one of the reasons that inspired him to become
"I... had the idea that there might be some interesting forms of
life out in space for us to discover and get acquainted with," he wrote
in 1962. "As far as I am concerned there have been far too many
unexplained examples of unidentified objects sighted around the earth
... the fact that many experienced pilots had reported strange sights
did heighten my curiosity about space . . . This was one of the reasons,
then, why I wanted to become an Astronaut."
1978 Cooper attended a meeting of the Special Political Committee
United Nations General Assembly in order to discuss UFOs. Later that
year a letter from Cooper was read at another UN meeting:
... I believe that these extraterrestrial vehicles and
their crews are visiting this planet from other planets, which are
obviously a little more advanced than we are here on earth. I feel that
we need to have a top-level, coordinated program to specifically collect
and analyze data from all over the earth concerning the type of
encounter, and to determine how best to interface with these visitors in
a friendly fashion. Also, I did have occasion in 1951 to have two days
of observation ... flights of them, of different sizes, flying in
fighter formation, from east to west over Europe. [Emphasis added.]
Cooper said that most astronauts were reluctant to discuss UFOs
"due to the great numbers of people who have indiscriminately sold fake
and forged documents abusing their names and reputations without
hesitation." But he added that there were "several of us who do believe in
UFOs" and who have had occasion to see a UFO on, around, or from an
"There was only one occasion from space which may have been a
UFO," Cooper's letter revealed, without elaborating.
UFO seen on the ground by an astronaut?
only reference I have to such an incident is contained in an article which
the late Lou Zinsstag translated from the French for me in 1973.
Unfortunately, I have neither the name of the paper nor the date, but the
article was written by J. L. Ferrando, based on an interview with an
astronaut at a congress in New York in mid-1973, tape-recorded by Benny
name of the astronaut? None other than Gordon Cooper!
following extracts are highly significant—if true:
For many years I have lived with a secret, in a secrecy imposed
on all specialists in astronautics. I can now reveal that every day, in
the USA, our radar instruments capture objects of form and composition
unknown to us. And there are thousands of witness reports and a quantity
of documents to prove this, but nobody wants to make them public. Why?
Because authority is afraid that people may think of God knows what kind
of horrible invaders. So the password still is: we have to avoid panic
by all means.
I was furthermore a witness to an extraordinary
phenomenon, here on this planet earth. It happened a few months ago in
Florida. There I saw with my own eyes a defined area of ground being
consumed by flames, with four indentations left by a flying object which
had descended in the middle of a field. Beings had left the craft (there
were other traces to prove this).
They seemed to have studied topography, they had collected soil
samples and, eventually, they returned to where they had come from,
disappearing at enormous speed.... I happen to know that the authorities
did just about everything to keep this incident from the press and TV,
in fear of a panicky reaction from the public.
immediately wrote to Cooper at Aerofoil Systems Inc., Cape Canaveral,
Florida, asking if there was any truth to these statements.
"If the whole story is a hoax," I said, "somebody ought to be
there was no reply from him, even when I sent reminders and a stamped
addressed envelope. I then wrote to Scott Carpenter, asking if he would
forward it to Cooper, and this he promised to do.
this day, I have heard nothing.
In the same letter to Scott I
asked for the complete story of the photo-graph he took during his flight
in Mercury 7 on 24 May 1962. According to a commentator on BBC TV in 1973,
Carpenter had been withdrawn from duties as an astronaut for wasting time
taking pictures of "sunrise." I thought this was rather unlikely,
especially since Scott's friend, Andre Previn, told me that Scott had not
been allowed in space again owing to a slight heart murmur. The released
photograph shows what some have interpreted as a UFO, others as a lens
flare, ice crystals, or the fabric and aluminium balloon that was deployed
at one stage. I wanted the facts.
When I reminded Scott of my
request a year later, he replied that he resented
. . your continuing implication that I am lying and/or withholding
truths from you. Your blindly stubborn belief in Flying Saucers makes
interest-ing talk for awhile, but your inability to rationally consider
any thought that runs counter to yours makes further discussion of no
interest— indeed unpleasant in prospect—to me. I have sent your letter
to Gordon Cooper without comment other than a copy of this letter to
you. Let's do be friends, Tim, but let's talk about such things as music
and SCUBA diving where maybe both of us can learn something.
have never insisted that Scott Carpenter photographed a UFO, but
because of the rumors surrounding the incident I wanted to know the truth.
To me, that seems reasonable. In any event, my friendship towards, and
respect for Scott remains undiminished.
An anonymous source with
secret clearance claims that Carpenter told him that at no time when the
astronauts were in space were they alone: there was constant surveillance
by UFOs. And Dr Garry Henderson, a senior research scientist for
General Dynamics, has confirmed that the astronauts are under strict
orders not to discuss their sightings with anyone.
Henderson says that NASA,
"has many actual photos of these crafts, taken at close range by
hand and movie camera."
November 1979 Lou Zinsstag and I received an unofficial invitation
to visit the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston. The invitation
came from Alan Holt, a physicist and aerospace engineer whose main
work at that time centered on the development of the astronaut and flight
controller training programs associated with the Spacelab. He is also
engaged in theoretical research into advanced types of propulsion for
spacecraft, and has long been involved in an unofficial NASA UFO study
group called Project VISIT (Vehicle Internal Systems Investigative
Team). I asked about photographs and films of UFOs allegedly taken by
astronauts and was simply told that the National Security Agency screens
all films prior to releasing them to NASA.
It may be coincidental
that a former Director of the National Security Agency and Deputy Director
of the CIA, Lew Allen, was appointed head of NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in June 1982. JPL runs NASA's unmanned planetary space program,
whose phenomenal achievements include the landing on Mars by the Viking
probes and, more recently, the Voyagers which transmitted such spectacular
pictures of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus.
Allen had also been the USAF Chief of Staff, and as one of the
pioneers of aerial espionage served as deputy director for Advanced Plans
in the Directorate of Special Projects of the National Reconnaissance
Office, and later director of the NRO's Office of Space
Systems. NRO—America's most secret intelligence agency—liaises
closely with the CIA, NSA—and of course NASA.
In an interview in 1986, Lew Allen stated that up to a
third of JPL's work was funded by the Department of Defense, but gave
details of various fascinating civilian projects.
"One of the most exciting of these future programs, called
Cassini," he said, "is an investigation of Saturn's moon Titan. Its
atmosphere was too dense for the Voyagers to give us any clues about
what lies beneath. The Cassini mission . . . would probe this atmosphere
. . . we've concluded that it is very similar to what the earth's must
have been at the earliest stages of its evolution."
Maurice Chatelain, former chief of NASA communications
systems, claims that all the Apollo and Gemini flights were followed at a
distance and sometimes quite closely by space vehicles of extraterrestrial
origin, but Mission Control ordered absolute secrecy. Chatelain believes
that some UFOs may come from our own solar system—specifically Titan.
During a BBC radio interview in December 1972, astronaut Edgar
Mitchell, lunar module pilot on Apollo 14, was asked by a listener if
NASA had made any provisions for encountering extra-terrestrials on the
Moon or nearby planets. He replied in the affirmative. When the
interviewer intervened and suggested that, if and when we ultimately come
into contact with other civilizations, it would only be via
radio-astronomy, Mitchell emphatically disagreed, making a point of
recommending Allen Hynek's book, The UFO Experience, which
contradicted official policy on the subject.
I wrote to Dr.
Mitchell and asked him to elaborate on this and another statement he made
on the program, to the effect that there had been no concealment of UFO
sightings either in transit to or on the Moon, and that such information
was open to all.
Mitchell's assistant, Harry Jones, replied:
"Dr. Mitchell asked me to write and tell you that to his
knowledge there have been no unexplained UFO sightings. All unexplained
sightings have subsequently been explained. Dr. Mitchell personally
attests that there has never been any lid of secrecy placed on any NASA
astronaut that he is aware of." [Emphasis added.]
Although puzzled by this contradictory reply I did not pursue the
matter further, since the publicity from UFO reports in 1973 led to a
number of positive statements by some other astronauts.
"I'm one of those guys who has never seen a UFO," said Eugene
Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, at a press conference. "But I've been
asked, and I've said publicly I thought they were somebody else, some
1979 former Mercury astronaut Donald Slayton revealed in an
interview with Paul Levy that he had seen a UFO while test-flying
an aircraft in 1951:
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 going to 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 way, and then all of a sudden the damn thing just took
off. It Suppressed Inventions and Other Discoveries 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."
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.
APOLLO 11 ENCOUNTER UFOS ON THE MOON?
hitherto unconfirmed reports, both Neil Armstrong and Edwin
"Buzz" Aldrin saw UFOs shortly after that historic landing
on the Moon in Apollo 11 on 21 July 1969.
remember hearing one of the astronauts refer to a "light" in or on a
crater during the televised transmission, followed by a request from
mission control for further information. Nothing more was heard.
According to former NASA employee Otto Binder,
unnamed radio hams with their own VHF receiving facilities that by-passed
NASA's broadcasting outlets picked up the following exchange:
MISSION CONTROL: What's there? Mission control calling Apollo
APOLLO 11: These babies are huge, sir. . . enormous. . . . Oh,
God, you wouldn't believe it! I'm telling you there are other
spacecraft out there . . . lined up on the far side of the crater edge
. . . they're on the moon watching us... .
story has been relegated to the world of science fiction since it
first appeared, but in 1979 Maurice Chatelain, former chief of NASA
communications systems and one of the scientists who conceived and
designed the Apollo spacecraft, confirmed that Armstrong had indeed
reported seeing two UFOs on the rim of a crater.
"The encounter was common knowledge in NASA," he revealed, "but
nobody has talked about it until now."
Soviet scientists were allegedly the first to confirm the incident.
"According to our information, the encounter was reported
immediately after the landing of the module," said Dr. Vladimir
Azhazha, a physicist and professor of mathematics at Moscow
"Neil Armstrong relayed the message to mission control that two
large mysterious objects were watching them after having landed near the
moon module. But his message was never heard by the public—because
NASA censored it."
According to another Soviet scientist, Dr. Aleksandr
Kazantsev, Buzz Aldrin took color movie film of the UFOs from
inside the module, and continued filming them after he and Armstrong went
outside. Dr. Azhazha claims that the UFOs departed just minutes after the
astronauts came out on to the lunar surface.
also confirmed that Apollo 11's radio transmissions were interrupted on
several occasions in order to hide the news from the public. NASA chief
spokesman John McLeaish denied that the agency censored any voice
transmissions from Apollo 11, but admitted that a slight delay in
transmission took place, due simply to processing through electronic
Before dismissing Chatelain's sensational claims, it is
worth noting his impressive background in the aerospace industry and space
program. His first job after moving from France was as an electronics
engineer with Convair, specializing in telecommunications, telemetry and
radar. In 1959 he was in charge of an electromagnetic research group,
developing new radar and telecommunications systems for Ryan. One of his
eleven patents was an automatic radar landing system that ignited retro
rockets at a given altitude, used in the Ranger and Surveyor flights to
the Moon. Later, at North American Aviation, Chatelain was offered the job
of designing and building the Apollo communication and data processing
In his book, Chatelain claims that,
"all Apollo and Gemini flights were followed, both at a distance
and sometimes also quite closely, by space vehicles of extraterrestrial
origin—flying saucers, or UFOs ... if you want to call them by that
name. Every time it occurred, the astronauts informed Mission Control,
who then ordered absolute silence."
goes on to say:
think that Walter Schirra aboard Mercury 8 was the first of the
astronauts to use the code name "Santa Claus" to indicate the presence
of flying saucers next to space capsules. However, his announcements
were barely noticed by the general public. It was a little different
when James Lovell on board the Apollo 8 command module came out from
behind the moon and said for everybody to hear:
"Please be informed that there is a Santa Claus."
though this happened on Christmas Day 1968, many people sensed a hidden
meaning in those words. I asked Dr. Paul Lowman of NASA's Goddard
Space Flight Center what he thought about the Apollo 11 story.
Most of the radio communications from the Apollo crew on the
surface were relayed in real time to earth. I am continually amazed by
people who claim that we have concealed the discovery of
extra-terrestrial activity on the Moon. The confirmed detection of
extraterrestrial life, even if only by radio, will be the greatest
scientific discovery of all time, and I speak without exaggeration.
The idea that a civilian agency such as NASA, operating in
the glare of publicity, could hide such a discovery is absurd, even if
it wanted to. One would have to swear to secrecy not only the dozen
astronauts who landed on the Moon but also the hundreds of engineers,
technicians, and secretaries directly involved in the missions and the
the rumors persist.
may well be a civilian agency, but many of its programs are funded by the
defense budget, as I have pointed out, and most of the astronauts are
subject to military security regulations. Apart from the fact that the
National Security Agency screens all films (and probably radio
communications as well), we have the statements by Otto Binder, Dr.
Garry Henderson and Maurice Chatelain that the astronauts
were under strict orders not to discuss their sightings.
Gordon Cooper has testified to a UN committee that one of the
astronauts actually witnessed a UFO on the ground. If there is no secrecy,
why has this sighting not been made public?
Not all communications
between the astronauts and ground control are public, as NASA itself
admits. John McLeaish, Chief of Public Information at the Manned
Spacecraft Center (now Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center) in Houston,
explained to me in 1970 that although there is no separate radio frequency
used by the astronauts for private conversations with mission control,
private conversations, "usually to discuss medical problems," are
"When the astronauts request a private conversation, or when a
private conversation is deemed necessary by officials on the ground, it
is transmitted on the same S-band radio frequencies as are normally used
but it is routed through different audio circuits on the ground; and
unlike other air-to-ground conversations with the spacecraft, it is not
released to the general public."
is there any truth to the Apollo 11 story?
friend of mine who formerly served in a branch of British military
intelligence has provided me with unexpected corroboration. I am not
permitted to reveal the name of my source, nor the location and date of
the following conversation that was overheard and subsequently confirmed
by my friend, which will inevitably lay me open to charges of fabricating
the story or being the victim of a hoax. Yet the story must be told,
A certain professor (whose name is known to
me) was engaged in an earnest discussion with Neil Armstrong during a NASA
symposium, and according to my friend's recollection, part of the
conversation went as follows:
PROFESSOR: What really happened out there with Apollo 11?
ARMSTRONG: It was incredible ... of course, we had always known
there was a possibility ... the fact is, we were warned off. There was
never any question then of a space station or a moon city.
PROFESSOR: How do you mean "warned off"?
can't go into details, except to say that their ships were far superior
to ours both in size and technology—Boy, were they big! . . . and
menacing. . . . No, there is no question of a space station.
PROFESSOR: But NASA had other missions after Apollo 11?
ARMSTRONG: Naturally—NASA was committed at that time, and
couldn't risk a panic on earth. . . . But it really was a quick scoop
and back again....
Later, when my friend confronted Armstrong, the latter confirmed
that the story was true but refused to go into further detail, beyond
admitting that the CIA was behind the cover-up.
Neil Armstrong have to say about the matter officially?
reply to my enquiry he simply stated:
"Your 'reliable sources' are unreliable. There were no objects
reported, found, or seen on Apollo 11 or any other Apollo flight other
than of natural origin. All observations on all Apollo flights were
fully reported to the public."
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