The Astronaut UFO Encounters – A Case Study

First Published: March 24, 2019 Written by: Marcus Lowth Estimated Reading Time: 16 minutes Posted in: Editorials
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There is a plethora of UFO sightings witnessed from the firm grounds of our planet. So, given the general assumption that these strange aerial anomalies hail from elsewhere in the Universe, it would be within reason that sightings of these mysterious crafts should also be witnessed by those who have spent time in the great beyond of outer space.

The fact is, there is an equal plethora of accounts from such people – from the American astronauts of the Apollo missions and the Soviet Cosmonaut missions at the height of the Cold War, to the International operations that have eventually resulted in the construction and ongoing experiments on board the International Space Station – all of whom have witnessed some very bizarre phenomena.

Astronaut UFO

There is no doubt that some, perhaps most, of these sightings will have “rational” explanations. Indeed, such explanations have been put forward for many of the better-known claims. However, there is also a persistent rumbling of such claims being “removed” from official statements before they reach the public arena. And as we highlighted in our case study on the Moon missions, astronauts were instructed “not to talk about” anything strange they might see.

Perhaps, before we examine some of these sightings and claims, it is worth considering the words of astronaut, Scott Carpenter who would state:

At no time when the astronauts were in space were they alone. There was a constant surveillance by UFOs!

And given that humanity – at least officially and to the best knowledge of the historical record – has only ventured as far as the Earth’s moon, Lunar, that would suggest quite an extent of activity. What, then, might lay beyond in the further reaches of our solar system? And then out further still into the enticing blackness of the Universe itself?

Gordon Cooper Witnesses UFO On Last Solo Space Mission While Orbiting The Earth!

We have looked previously at the efforts of former NASA astronaut, Gordon Cooper in having the US government release all of their UFO files to the public. Cooper had witnessed several UFOs while working as a terrestrial pilot at various US military bases around the world.

However, on 15th May 1963, during what was the last single-person space mission in the Earth’s orbit, Cooper himself would witness a UFO while he was in flight during his final pass of the planet. As he was making the pass, he would notify the tracking station near Perth, Australia that there was “greenish object” heading towards his Mercury capsule.

Astronaut

What’s more, the tracking station would confirm the object on their radar equipment. This meant that far from being a trick of the light, the object was most definitely solid. Reporters would hear of the sighting through the National Broadcast Company, as was standard procedure. However, despite this, reporters were told that Cooper would not answer questions on the issue.

Perhaps even more damning, for NASA, and certainly lending credibility to other similar reports are his words from a late-1990s interview with J.L. Fernando. Cooper would state:

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?

Why, indeed?

A Once Proud American Hero! Manipulation Of The Public’s Perception By Authorities!

Cooper would further elaborate on an event in Florida that he himself witnessed when US authorities “did just about everything” they could to keep the incident out of the public domain. He would claim that flames in “four indentions left by a flying object” that had landed in the middle of the field were covered-up. Furthermore, so were the witnesses, all of whom saw several strange “beings” leave the craft to gather up soil samples and study the make-up of the ground.

Then, as if nothing out of the ordinary was taking place, these entities returned to their craft which “disappeared at enormous speed”.

The reaction and response to Cooper’s claims was, by and large, that he was an American hero who, due to old age and possibly as a result of his testing planes at the absolute edge of their capabilities, was now a little “confused” about what he did and didn’t see (something Cooper would refute right until his death in 2004).

This is similar to how claims made by Sir Peter Horsley, one-time Deputy Commander-in-Chief RAF-Strike-Command, who would claim to have had a private meeting with an extraterrestrial entity, arranged while he was working directly with Prince Philip, no less, whose own interest in such matters was itself rabid, were dealt with. They would essentially distance themselves, with the insinuation that a “once proud man” had so publicly revealed himself to be mentally unwell.

In reality, what else could the respective authorities do with such blatant exposure, if we assume each is accurate for a moment, but to show “sympathy” with an individual who was clearly unwell. In the collective mind of the public, this was “obviously” the case. Perhaps these are good examples of how effectively such manipulation tools of the masses work so easily.

Donald “Deke” Slayton Witnesses A “Silver Disc” While Test-Flying A P-51 Jet!

Cooper certainly isn’t the only astronaut to have such sightings of strange anomalous crafts. In fact, he isn’t even the only one of the Mercury pilots. Donald “Deke” Slayton, for example, would make claims several decades after the incident that he had witnessed a UFO while test-flying a P-51 fighter jet over Hastings, near Minneapolis on 19th December 1951.

In his 1995 book Deke! US Manned Space – From Mercury To The Shuttle, he would speak about the incident in detail.

The day was a typical, bright winter day, with the afternoon sun shining crisply and precisely. Slayton was at an altitude of around 10,000 feet when he saw what he at first thought was a kite in the distance in front of him. Realizing that he was much too high for the object to be a kite, he would move in for a close look. He would recall:

…as soon as I go behind the darn thing it didn’t look like a balloon anymore. It looked like a saucer! A disc!

He realized the object, as clear as it was, was moving away from him, and quickly. This, despite the fact he was traveling at just over 300 miles per hour. He watched it for several more minutes before it climbed upwards and “just flat disappeared”.

We should note that Slayton, much like Cooper, was considered one of the finest pilots of his day with a particularly “above average aptitude for flying”. In fact, so highly recommended was Slayton, he was “handpicked” as one of the first astronauts to enter into the United States’ Space Program.

The short video below features Slayton speaking briefly about the incident in question.

The Purposeful Detection And Filming Of UFOs By NASA Test Pilots On The Very Edge Of Space

On 11th May 1962 in Seattle, Washington, NASA test pilot, Joe Walker would inform those in attendance at the Second National Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Space Research that he was asked by his superiors as part of one of his missions to “detect and film UFOs at high altitude”. So high, in fact, that many dubbed it the edge or fringes of space.

You can check out the short video for a little more on this below.

The request came for an April test flight of the X-15 “Rocket Plane”, coincidentally or not, after Walker had captured and reported “five or six disc-shaped or cylindrical objects” several months earlier in a test flight of the same plane.

When Walker made the claims, he also showed several pictures to the enthralled audience. However, despite this very public showing of them, NASA has still only released a single picture for public release.

Walker certainly wasn’t alone in his claims of witnessing strange and intelligently controlled objects in this highest altitude of the planet before reaching outer space. During a similar test flight with an X-15 in July 1962, Major Robert White witnessed a strange object for “a full five seconds” before it disappeared from sight. What’s more, the on-board cameras also appeared to capture the strange anomaly.

Just what did the US government know? Why did they suddenly ask their best test pilots to go out of their way to take pictures of aircraft, potentially from other worlds no less, that officially they claimed didn’t exist?

The video below looks at the X-15 “Rocket Plane” tests a little further.

“What Really Happened?” – “We Were Warned Off!”

It would seem perfectly obvious that, like the Soviet authorities – who we will examine shortly – the US intelligence services knew a lot more than most of those who worked for them likely even knew.

In our case study on the Moon and why we haven’t returned since the aforementioned Eugene Cernan left its surface in 1972, we examined the alleged claims of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin of witnessing UFOs on the Moon’s surface “lined up on the far side…watching us!”

Both Armstrong and Aldrin have rarely commented outright on the matter. However, a professor – who would only speak under anonymity – would speak with Armstrong at a NASA symposium years after the Moon landing. According to the professor, Armstrong would reply privately when asked what “really” happened, he would claim that they were “warned off”. Furthermore, any plans for a “space station (near the moon) or a Moon City” were gone immediately.

When asked to explain why further NASA missions went ahead following the initial landing, Armstrong would reason that such a sudden ending might have caused panic on Earth. However, the subsequent missions were simply “quick scoop and back again” operations.

Furthermore, according to Aleksandr Kasantsev, Buzz Aldrin had begun filming the strange objects from inside the landing module while Armstrong was taking his historic first step on the lunar surface. Further still, he would continue filming, discreetly, when he himself went outside. The film was promptly removed by intelligence services. Armstrong would confirm this version of events but would not comment any further when asked.

Might it be that the conspiracies surrounding the Moon landings are legitimate? Only the conspiracy is not whether we landed on the moon or not. But why we didn’t return? And what exactly did we really find when we landed there?

Just What Were The Consequences Of That Moon Landing?

This is an interesting idea when we examine some of the instances, as speculative as they might be, when the Apollo 11 crew returned to Earth. While we can accept their obvious exhaustion, each of the astronauts appears sullen, almost depressed when appearing at the news conference shortly after landing.

Aldrin himself would suffer from repeated battles with alcoholism in the years that followed the famous missions. Was this battle a consequence of processing the life-changing information that he and a very select few other people on the planet were aware of?

Returning to Armstrong’s alleged reports of UFOs on the edge of the crater on the Moon, perhaps one of the most mind-blowing “confessions” of secret and withheld knowledge by those at the top of NASA and the intelligence agencies would come from Maurice Chatelain, former chief of NASA Communications Systems.

Moon Landings

Although many people dismiss his claims, as well as the actual access he might have had in NASA, Chatelain would claim in the late-1970s Armstrong did indeed witness the UFOs on the Moon’s crater.

Furthermore, in such books as Our Cosmic Ancestors, he would claim that many of the UFOs come from within our own solar system, in particular, Titan. This is perhaps an interesting notion as today many scientists believe life could indeed exist on the moons of the gas giants, including Europa and Titan.

Did Chatelain really have access to information he was ultimately willing to divulge? Was he free of the military security and secrets acts that NASA astronauts were constricted by due to his “unofficial” presence in NASA? As controversial as he and his claims are, they most certainly have a place in the conspiracy of the astronaut UFO encounters.

The Last Man On The Moon Speaks Of Altered, Spiritual View Of The Universe

Although he didn’t outright claim to have witnessed a UFO, the last man to walk on the moon, Eugene Cernan would clearly state in the 2007 documentary Shadow of the Moon that he was suddenly aware of a “greater power” after witnessing the mysteries of space and the Universe first-hand.

He would further state, after witnessing the vastness of space and the Earth’s place in it:

I felt that the world was just too beautiful to have happened by accident. There has to be something bigger than you and bigger than me. And I mean this in a spiritual sense, not a religious sense!

He would elaborate that his belief in a “creator” was unexplainable to him. As early as 1973 he would claim in a Los Angeles Times newspaper article that:

…I’ve been asked (about UFOs) and I’ve said publicly I thought they were somebody else. Some other civilization!

While he wouldn’t claim his personal belief was that UFOs are under the intelligent control of extraterrestrials from elsewhere in the Universe, James Lovell would respond to UFO researcher, Timothy Good, when asked for his opinion on the matter that while he had not seen a UFO personally:

…most of us (astronauts) believe that there must be a star like our sun that has a planetary system which must support intelligent life as we know!

However, released transcripts of Lovell’s Gemini 7 space flight in December 1965 might suggest otherwise. He would report to Gemini Command at Cape Kennedy that there was a “bogey at 10 o’clock”. When the command center asked if this was an “actual sighting” or whether it was the (discarded) booster, Lovell replied, “We have several – actual sighting”.

Then, for clarity, he would add, “We also have the booster in sight”.

Space

Cosmonauts From The MIR Space Station Spot A “Giant Sphere” Hovering Above The Earth!

Although there is cooperation between American and Soviet astronauts and cosmonauts now, during the Cold War, this was rarely the case. And perhaps more to the point, plenty of Soviet cosmonauts had their own strange encounters, some of which we will examine shortly.

Perhaps one of the most bizarre, though, occurred during the downfall and break-up of the Soviet Union on 28th September 1990. During a radio interview with cosmonauts, Gennadiy Mankakov and Gennadiy Strekalov, Mankakov would make some startlingly blunt statements in response to the most interesting phenomena he has witnessed. He would claim that “only yesterday” he had witnessed an “unidentified flying object”.

Mankakov would elaborate that this “great silvery sphere” was roughly near the north pole area of the Earth and approximately 20 to 30 kilometers above the Earth. He would claim it was “much larger than a huge ship”.

When the interviewer suggested that the object might have been an iceberg, Mankakov dismissed this notion stating that the object was “enormous” and that it could have been an “experimental sphere” or something of that nature.  He would further state:

…I was observing it for around six or seven seconds and then it disappeared. It was just hovering over the Earth!

What perhaps makes Mankakov’s claims more credible is that just over six months later, on 31st March 1991, fellow cosmonaut, Mus Manarov not only witnessed a cigar-shaped UFO from the MIR space station, he managed to capture footage of it. UFO researcher J. Antonio Huneeus and Peter Robbins would hail the footage as “undoubtedly one of the best-known examples of UFO footage ever taken in space”.

Manarov was actually filming the approach of a cargo flight to the MIR station when he captured the footage. You can view the video below.

UFOs Can’t Be Denied “Thousands Of People Have Seen Them!”

Like their American counterparts, Soviet cosmonauts have an equally long history of reports of strange and anomalous objects in the great vastness of space. Perhaps one of the first to publicly tell of such sightings, as well as his belief in “UFOs” and alien life, was Soyuz-5 cosmonaut, Yevgeni Khrunov. He would state in a 1980 edition of Sputnik magazine that:

…as for UFOs, their presence cannot be denied. Thousands of people have seen them…Their ability to change course by 90 degrees at great speed simply staggers the imagination!

Indeed, while Khrunov himself suggested a possible “optical illusion” for these strange sightings was possible, these types of movements and their apparent solid structures made such a theory unlikely.

cosmonaut

We have examined before how Soviet authorities would officially deny the existence of UFOs. Perhaps Khrunov’s caveat to his bold statement was to cover himself of the persecution of the state, something that, according to some researchers, most certainly went ahead with some of the most outspoken UFO researchers in the Cold War climate of the Soviet Union.

However, as the regime fell and the iron grip of “communist censorship” relinquished its control over the media and what it could report, many hundreds and thousands of UFO reports burst into the public arena. Among them, were several notable ones from Soviet cosmonauts.

Strange Objects Climbing Into Space “From A Region Near Moscow!”

One of the most interesting would appear in the 28th February edition of the Rabochaya Tribuna, a Moscow newspaper, and took place overnight between the 14th and 15th June 1980 on the Salyut-6 spacecraft.

According to their report, the chief engineer of the Cosmonaut Training Center, Vladimir Alexandrov, suddenly burst into the newspaper’s main office with a picture of what he claimed was “a UFO” and an account involving cosmonauts, Valery Ryumin and Leonid Popov. Furthermore, he would claim, as many researchers had said for some time, that Soviet authorities went out of their way to ensure that the incident remained concealed from their own populace, as well as the world at large.

Astronaut Earth

The two cosmonauts were in orbit around the planet on the Salyut-6 when “a cluster of white, shining, spots” began climbing up into the far reaches of space above. What’s more, these bizarre objects appeared to be coming “from a region near Moscow”. By the time they had watched these mystery objects, they were “much higher” than the Salyut-6 and seemingly disappeared continually upwards into an eternal black nothingness.

Furthermore, witnesses on the ground were told that the sightings were simply a “satellite launch”, although Alexandrov would claim quite simply “this was a cover-up”. He would claim, that a “saucer-shape” is clearly visible in the photograph. It would appear that the picture itself is hard to pin down for many researchers, perhaps adding an extra layer of intrigue to the already bizarre account.

Thread-3 – Discreet Investigation Of Visitors From “Other Planets” Or “Parallel Worlds!”

Many, if not the vast majority of the accounts that would find its way into UFO circles in both the “east” and “west” came from a project under the name of “Thread-3”. According to the wording of the project, Soviet authorities were more than open to the idea that these sightings could be due to “strangers from other planets” or even “newcomers from parallel worlds”. Certainly a vastly different mindset that the masses were ordered to take.

Perhaps, in a similar notion that the reason for UFO secrecy as far as US authorities are concerned is down to the propulsion systems and what it might mean should such technologically advanced systems were in their possession, a similar mindset appears to have permeated the Soviet ranks. The ultimate goal, it would appear, of Thread-3 was:

…to conduct widerange investigations in order to find out new principles of non-traditional propelling agents and accompanying fields…

And what’s more, information discreetly gleaned from UFO witnesses would be recorded and utilized accordingly. In short, the Soviet authorities were very likely, albeit with a different approach and even perspective, doing exactly the same as the US authorities. And for, it would also appear, for exactly the same reasons.

Also interesting, was the assumption by the Soviets – based on their own intelligence – that NASA had direct orders from the Pentagon to “clean the pictures and telemetrical data” before release to the public. We have examined previously the many NASA insiders and whistleblowers who claim the “cleaning of pictures” is an accurate claim, even down to the phrase itself.

It is also perhaps from the notes and files of Thread-3 where the claims of Apollo astronauts encountering “aliens on the moon” may come from. It would certainly appear to be the Soviet intelligence’s belief.

More Strange Incidents Of The Salyut Program

We have examined the 1984 incidents on the Salyut-7 previously. However, its predecessor, the Salyut-6 would appear to have several intriguing cases in its own right, one of which we have already looked at.

For example, on 17th June 1978, a conversation between cosmonauts, Vladimir Kovalenok and Alexander Ivanchenko was caught on audio tape. A transcription of this conversation was also within the Thread-3 files. It concerns a strange “object flying under” the space station which had the appearance of a “tennis ball” and was as “bright as a flaring up star”. Perhaps similar to the “sphere hovering over the Earth” reported just over a decade later.

Spacewalk

Incidentally, Kovalenok would experience another UFO encounter almost three years later in early-May 1981. Once more, a “sphere-shaped” object appeared out of nowhere and remained alongside the space station as it went on its orbit around the Earth.

In front of the object was a “gyrating, depressed cone” which was “expanding and contracting” and “becoming transparent”, apparently revealing a body inside. He would explain:

…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!

Then came two quick explosions within half a second of each other.

In a move extremely similar to the aforementioned Salyut-7 incident of 1984 (although the cosmonauts involved in that encounter did not report a “UFO”) the occupants of this strange craft left the otherworldly vehicle and approached the portholes of the Soviet space station. Out of this explosion, came two clouds of smoke which then resembled an entity which “came near me and I watched it!”

The short video below features Kovalenok speaking of the incident (in Russian) in more detail.

General Paval Popovich – UFO Sightings Requires “Serious Global Study!”

One of the first cosmonauts to journey onto space, General Pavel Popovich, would also witness a strange object. And while he was airborne at the time, he was very much within the atmospheric confines of Earth at an altitude of just over 10,000 feet while traveling back to Moscow from Washington.

Suddenly, he and other passengers would notice a “flying triangle” moving alongside their military plane. The strange object eventually passed the plane, which was flying just short of 1000 miles per hour. Popovich would estimate the triangular craft was moving in excess of 1,500 miles per hour, at least.

After it was out of sight, all on board the craft began to speak about what the object might have been. Popovich would recall:

It was a UFO and we couldn’t compare it to anything!

Popovich himself, while cautious, even after the fall of the Soviet Union, would state that 95% of all UFO sightings can be dismissed. However, the remaining 5% “are definitely serious” and “require a serious global study”.

At the time Popovich said those words in 1992 such a global and united effort appeared within reach, perhaps even inevitable. However, less than half a century later in the early twenty-first century, such a notion, at least at times, appears as unlikely as it did during the Cold War years.

Despite Peaks In Popular Culture, UFO Encounters Continue Steadily – On Earth And Above Us?

Since the start of the modern UFO era following the end of the Second World War and the commencement of the Cold War between the wartime allies of the opposing political ideologies that was the United States and the (then) rapidly growing Soviet Union, UFO sightings have simply skyrocketed.

While some of these sudden sightings might well be put down to a reflection of the pop culture of the times, particularly in the 1950s and to a lesser degree the late-1970s, when interest in space and extraterrestrials was arguably higher than usual, the fact is, these accounts have continued steadily through all decades, whether discussion on UFOs and aliens was the “in thing” or not.

Spacesuit

Further still, accounts from those who have gone into space – on both sides of the political and space-race divide – have seemingly reported similar things for decades. And while we have concentrated on the astronauts and cosmonauts of the Moon landing mission and the Cold War era, we know such sightings continue today. Indeed, we have explored them extensively in the many UFO sightings that come to light courtesy of the live broadcast feed of the International Space Station.

Indeed, as it says above, UFO encounters have continued both in space in the immediate vicinity of our planet, and here on Earth. Arguably, a very cosmic interpretation of As Above, So Below.

Even Openminded Astronauts Are Cautious!

And in terms of the sightings made in the vastness of space, many astronauts, even if they were to disregard their orders to not speak of such incidents, are wary of who they disclose the information to. And perhaps most importantly, how it will be used.

Gordon Cooper, for example, who was extremely open in his beliefs of UFOs and extraterrestrial intelligence would state that even people such as he were “very cautious” due to incidents of people selling “fake stories” using their (the astronaut’s) name to do so. Not only does this make the issue of UFOs and alien existence less credible, but the damage to their own reputations is also severe.

The fact is, though, as records, official documents, multiple claims in documentaries, books, and online interviews state clearly that these sightings and encounters have indeed taken place. And what’s more, they continue to do so today.

Perhaps, as we and others have speculated before, if a private company or conglomerate – one free of influence or financial dependency – ever does make it back to the moon or even further, these claims will achieve the credibility many of them very likely deserve.

If These Claims Are True, Even In Part, What Does That Mean For Humanity’s Place In The Universe?

In short, then, there are many, many accounts of strange, intelligently guided crafts in and around the reaches of our planet. Might it be that the solar system – our solar system – really is flowing with life and activity? If that is the case, then why have our governments kept this information from us? Is it realistic that they would, or even could?

What should we think of the controversial claims of people such as Maurice Chatelain? People easily dismissed as fantasists but whose information, in some case, has proven to be eerily accurate.

And what should we make of the fact that our own Moon is home to an extraterrestrial race? One so powerful and with “huge spaceships” that were so “technologically advanced” of anything humanity has access to?

If that was the case, and our Moon was hosting these alien entities, what does that mean for claims of alien abduction? Might such “stumbling blocks” of traveling across the vastness of space suddenly be null and void in terms of these gray aliens who are abducting human beings from their beds or from vehicles on lonely roads around the planet?

Might these strange entities not be traveling across the far reaches of space, but instead be traveling the relatively short distance to Earth from hidden bases on the Moon? If so, how long have they inhabited our satellite? And how far back does their history and influence in humanity actually go? Might such a far-reaching presence in human antiquity explain why they are so prevalent today in our contemporary era?

Check out the video below. It looks at some of the UFO sightings and encounters voiced by those who have been into the great unknown.

About Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for anything interesting, from UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies and unsolved mysteries. He also has a passion for film, music, and the NFL. Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows discussing these topics.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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1 Comment

Newest comments appear first, oldest at the bottom. Post a new comment!

  • jim oberg says:

    “Scott Carpenter who would state:
    At no time when the astronauts were in space were they alone. There was a constant surveillance by UFOs!”

    Bad start. This and every subsequent assertion is phony, made up by UFO writers and bloggers over the years to sucker the kiddies.

    There’s no evidence Carpenter ever said this, and an explicit denial from him stating he never said it.

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