by Charles Lear
From the very beginning of the U.S. space program, astronauts have reportedly seen UFOs. For those who subscribe to the extraterrestrial hypothesis, it makes sense that space faring beings from other planets would take an interest. But, whatever they are, astronauts have not only reported seeing UFOs, but some, most notably Gordon Cooper and Dr. Edgar Mitchell, have gone so far as to publicly advocate for disclosure and an end to secrecy regarding the subject.
Gordon Cooper described having encounters with UFOs as an Air Force pilot prior to his involvement in the space program. In his 2000 memoir, “Leap of Faith: An Astronaut’s Journey Into the Unknown”, Gordon wrote that he chased saucer-shaped craft over Germany in the 1950’s, where he was stationed, and that objects that were faster than known man made machines flew over the base daily. He also made mention of being given film in 1957 of a saucer that landed at Edwards Air Force Base which he sent off to the Pentagon and never saw again. In contrast, he claimed that neither he nor any other astronauts had seen UFOs while in space and refutes the report that he saw a green glowing object approach his craft during his final orbit in May 1963 aboard Mercury Faith 7 while over Australia. Cooper made a similar claim in a March 1980 interview in Omni conducted by long time UFO researcher Lee Spiegel. In that interview Cooper stated that, of all the astronauts involved in the space program only James McDivitt “might” have seen a UFO. He also remarked that allegations of astronaut UFO sightings “got so bad that there were deliberately falsified tapes of communications with the astronauts, where UFO material was simply edited in.” A review of claims of astronaut encounters and statements finds that there is, indeed, a lot of poorly supported information out there.