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 program.

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.


He also admitted that it was the second occasion on which he had filmed UFOs in flight.

"I 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.]

In 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.

"I 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!"

"Two 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."

One 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 been leaks.

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.

A 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."

A rather euphemistic way of putting it, to be sure, but the internal instruction continues:

"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.'' [Emphasis added.]

A 1978 NASA information sheet gives the agency's official policy on the subject:

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.

In 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.


In 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 investigations.

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 NASA.


The document is dated 17 November 1980, and includes this relevant passage:


"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 AFOSI document."

In 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.

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 Club.

"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:

"I sincerely hope that you are successful in preventing a re-opening of UFO investigations."

So 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 unfulfilled.

Dr. 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 investigations.


He 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. ...


I 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.


He 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.


In 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.


In 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.

They produce 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.

In 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, he stated:

"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.


It 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 powers"?

The Soviets?

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 Aerial Phenomena


Dr. Henry Frankel, head of the Spacecraft Systems Branch, directed the analysis.


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 building.


A 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."

When 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.


Dr. 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. .. ."

On 5 August 1964 Ray Stanford phoned Dr. Frankel at the Goddard Space Flight Center.

"I'm glad you called," the scientist said. "I have some news that I think will make you happy."

He went on:

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 object.

Dr. 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."

He 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.


On 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 week?"

On 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."

On 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.

"I 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 silica, SiO2"

In 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?"

Both 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 analysis.

"I 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 published."

Stanford told Hynek that NASA's "official" analysis had revealed it to be common silica.

"That cannot be true!" exclaimed Hynek.


"I 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."

In my 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.


I 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."

The 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" film.

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:

In 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 are seen.

In 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.


In 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?"

One 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.


In 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 light...


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 properties.

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 fake.


Dr. 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 sent him:

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.


My 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.


That 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 fellow astronauts.


I 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:

I 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 added.]

But 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 sighting?

SPACECRAFT: We have several, looks like debris up here. Actual sighting.

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 away.

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 pictures.

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 subject.


In fact, interest in UFOs was one of the reasons that inspired him to become an astronaut.

"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."

In 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 aircraft.

"There was only one occasion from space which may have been a UFO," Cooper's letter revealed, without elaborating.

A UFO seen on the ground by an astronaut?


The 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 Manocchia.


The name of the astronaut? None other than Gordon Cooper!


The 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.

I 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 sued."

But 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.


To 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.

I 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.


Dr Henderson says that NASA,

"has many actual photos of these crafts, taken at close range by hand and movie camera."

In 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 other civilization."

In 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:

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 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."

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.

According to 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.


I 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 11.
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... .

The 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 University.


"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.

Maurice Chatelain 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 equipment.

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 system.

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."

He goes on to say:

I 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."

Even 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.


He replied:

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 communication links.

Yet the rumors persist.


NASA 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.


And 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 re-routed:

"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."

But is there any truth to the Apollo 11 story?


A 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, however apocryphal.

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"?

ARMSTRONG: I 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.

What does Neil Armstrong have to say about the matter officially?


In 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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