COSMONAUT MAJOR GENERAL VLADIMIR KOVALYONOK:
Saljut VI Mission 1981
Many cosmonauts have seen phenomena which are far beyond the experiences of earthmen. For ten years I never spoke on such things. The encounter you asked me about happened on May 5, 1981, at about 6 PM, during the Saljut Mission. At that time we were over the area of South Africa, moving towards the area of the Indian ocean. I just made some gymnastic exercises, when I saw in front of me, through a porthole, an object which I could not explain. It is impossible to determine distances in Space. A small object can appear large and far away and the other way around. Sometimes a cloud of dust appears like a large object. Anyway, I saw this object and then something happened I could not explain, something impossible according to the laws of Physics. The object had this shape, elliptical, and flew with us. From a frontal view it looked like it would rotate in flight direction.
It only flew straight, but then a kind of explosion happened, very beautiful to watch, of golden light. This was the first part. Then, one or two seconds later, a second explosion followed somewhere else and two spheres appeared, golden and very beautiful.
After this explosion I just saw white smoke, then a cloud-like sphere. Before we entered the darkness, we flew through the terminator, the twilight-zone between day and night. We flew eastwards, and when we entered the darkness of the Earth shadow, I could not see them any longer. The two spheres never returned.
Anyway, I saw this object and then something happened I could not explain, something impossible according to the laws of Physics. The object had this shape, elliptical, and flew with us. From a frontal view it looked like it would rotate in flight direction.
COSMONAUT MUSA MANAROV, MIR:
MIR mission 1991
It happened during a visit mission, when all our attention was focused on the slowly approaching space capsule. I was close to the great porthole, from where I could see our approaching visitors. I watched everything very carefully… When the capsule came closer, I filmed it with a professional Betacam camera. Suddenly I noted something below the spaceship, which first looked like a kind of antenna. Only when I looked closer and analyzed the situation, I realized that there was no antenna at all. But first I thought it was a part of the construction. But then this element started to move. It moved away from the ship. So I grabbed the radio and told them: “Hey, Boys, you are losing something.”
This, of course, alarmed them. With all my experience especially with docking maneuvers in space I can tell you that especially in this phase simply nothing can break off at all. If something would have been loose, it would have been torn off long before, during the launch, the maneuvers, the turn, all these much more energetic flight phases. Now we were just gliding slowly towards each other, without any pressure on the capsule.
Suddenly, I noted something below the spaceship, which first looked like a kind of antenna. Only when I looked closer and analyzed the situation, I realized that there was no antenna at all.
But then this “something” started to remove downwards. When it flew away, it attracted all our attention. It looked like if it was rotating. It was difficult to estimate its dimensions. If it was close or far away I could not say, it was in free sight, and in space it is difficult to estimate any size and distance. I can only say for sure that it was not very close, since I set the camera for infinity. If it would have been just a screw or something close to us, it would have been out of focus. The object was quite far away. In any case at least 300 feet, since this was the distance of the space capsule, and I had the impression that it was beyond it.
It is possible that it was a kind of UFO. We can’t say with any certainty what it was. It was definitely not a bigger piece of space junk, no rocket part or so, since this would have been located… the space surveillance, ours and the American, locate all bigger objects in space. They are followed, for every minute we know their position and flight direction. If such an object would have come so close to the MIR, they would have located it and informed us.
I don’t think it was a piece of space junk or debris. There is a lot of that in the Earth orbit – Satellite parts, rocket parts, just everything- but our space surveillance locates them, and according to them there was nothing…
COSMONAUT GENNADIJ STREKHALOV, MIR
MIR mission 1990
On the last two flights I saw something. During the flight of 1990, I called Gennadij Manakov, our commander: “Come to the porthole”. Unfortunately, but this is typical, we did not manage to put a film in the camera quickly enough to film it. We looked on Newfoundland. The atmosphere was completely clear. And suddenly a kind of sphere appeared. I want to compare it with a Christmas tree decoration, beautiful, shiny, glittering. I saw it for ten seconds. The sphere appeared in the same way as it disappeared again. What it was, what size it had, I don’t know. There was nothing I could compare it with. I was like struck by lightning by this phenomenon. It was a perfect sphere, glittering like a Christmas tree decoration. I reported to the Mission Control Center, but I did not say that I have seen a UFO. I said I saw a kind of unusual phenomenon. I had to be careful with the choice of my words. I don’t want someone to speculate too much or quote me wrong.
I want to compare it with a Christmas tree decoration, beautiful, shiny, glittering. I saw it for ten seconds.
COSMONAUT GENERAL PAVEL ROMANOWICH POPOVICH
Soviet Air Force
I had only one personal encounter with something Unknown, something we could not explain. It was in 1978, when we flew from Washington to Moscow. We flew in an altitude of 30.600 feet. And suddenly, when I looked through the windshield I noticed something flying about 4500 feet above us on a parallel course – a glowing white equilateral triangle, resembling a sail. Since our speed was 600 mph, the triangle must have had a speed of at least 900 mph, since it overtook us. I called the attention of all passengers and crew-members on it. We tried to find out what it was, but all attempts to identify it as something known ultimately failed. This object looked like a UFO and it remained unidentified. It did not look like an airplane, since it was a perfect triangle. No airplane at that time had such a shape.
…when I looked through the windshield I noticed something flying about 4500 feet above us on a parallel course – a glowing white equilateral triangle, resembling a sail.
COL. GENERAL GENNADIJ RESHETNIKOV
Head of the General Zhukov High Command Academy of Air Defense, Tver;
Former High Commander of Air Defense of the Far East
Yes, there were particularly mysterious occurrences during military practice. At times targets appeared, on which fighters in the air or radars set for anti-aircraft missiles trained themselves, but it was difficult to determine what they were exactly. There were situations when a target answered to the signal “I’m your plane” (we have such a system of inquiry.) Or the other way around, it wouldn’t answer at all. It was considered incomprehensible. Moreover, I’m aware of situations when, as planes which had been sent into the air were opening their side sites, they discovered a target. But when it reached the determined distance when the automatic weapons system which dispatched missiles should have operated, suddenly the system broke down. Everything disappeared, even the target. Or maybe the plane warped through space to another position. They conducted another attack – again the same result. There were such interesting and mysterious occurrences.
Now, when I find myself in the Army Institute of Higher Learning, I know that there were attempts at similar research. There were several definite scientifically- researched studies on ufological topics. But they didn’t find a wide distribution for them. Judging, in essence, by the situation of things, I mean that they couldn’t find any practical applications for the incorporation of the results of the scientifically-researched developments. In this way, the problem of UFOs in the terminological sense, of how it figures into ufology, isn’t followed in the affairs of the military right now. And it wasn’t followed earlier. I want to emphasize, that if an unidentified target reveals itself in space, then it’s displayed on our radars. Sometimes it happens that it’s seen visibly. Sometimes signals are simply received from citizen eye-witnesses. Such information was also received from border posts after visual sightings, and from other sources, and we never throw it out. Verifications are absolutely conducted. But I’m not able to say that this work is taken with a scientific approach. It’s conducted within the framework of the administrative attitude towards this problem. In my opinion that’s how things stand in the different branches of the Armed Forces.
…as planes which had been sent into the air were opening their side sites, they discovered a target. But when it reached the determined distance when the automatic weapons system which dispatched missiles should have operated, suddenly the system broke down.
…We try to take into account the problem of UFOs. Quite a bit of interesting material has appeared, and it’s perfectly obvious it needs to be studied in earnest, and that it’s necessary to address this question on a governmental level.
Right now you are more and more inclined to believe that UFOs exist. But what stands behind this? The first you think of are extraterrestrial visitors…
A bit earlier, at the end of the 1970’s and the start of the 1980’s, I flew to the Arctic Circle, to the place where eye-witnesses had seen some kind of cigar-shaped apparatus with portholes. This was how the press in this area was describing it. It happened in the region of Norilsk. The object was seen several times. Traces were discovered but no one conducted any kind of serious research there. When it became known to me, I flew there in a helicopter in order to examine the place, we even traveled out to the same place one more time, but we didn’t succeed in noticing anything special.
Concerning the ascent of airplanes, in particular, when we were in the framework of the Soviet Union it’s necessary to say, that battle duties were kept up rigidly, and we sent up planes without all kinds of restrictions. Immediately upon my order, planes went up many, many times. For example, in those situations which I just recounted during my service. Now we send up planes very deliberately on account of economic conditions. But I personally for many times have ordered aircraft to determine if something is a UFO or not – they were unidentified targets for us. Yes, there have been several cases in which they turned out to be mysterious, unknown targets on which the different detecting systems reacted, including our land-, sea- and airspace surveillance. Sometimes our weapon systems were activated because of them.
MAJOR GENERAL VASILY ALEXEYEV
Russian Air Force Space Communications Center Moscow
If we are speaking about my military capacity, it was in the 1980s when I happened to be serving not in a regular unit, but in the central staff. Work in the central staff entails close links with the units in the field and a large amount of traveling. There were many reports from unit level regarding a large number of observations of unexplained phenomena. You should bear in mind that at that time much was simply denied. The subject was to a large extent a closed one. On the ground, however, people wanted to find out what was what, to separate truth from fiction. In that period a lot of things were presented in such a way that you lost the desire to believe. Accordingly an attitude to the subject became established, where not only was there no desire to believe, it was even undesirable to believe. Nevertheless the information coming in from the bases was of interest if only because it was not merely talk and rumors; there were eye-witnesses to phenomena and that was reflected in specific documents and the reports of officials. At times this information was of such a fascinating nature that it was impossible not to believe it. Later the question no longer seemed so fantastic and began to be examined at the level not only of the Defense Ministry, but of other government departments as well. This interest specifically expressed itself in certain experts being sent to investigate, especially to those places where UFOs, let’s call them that, appeared quite frequently. I know a whole number of military bases in that category. As a rule they are objects of strategic significance, rocket complexes, scientific test establishments, in other words the places where there is a high concentration of advanced science and, to some degree, danger. Because every nuclear rocket, every new Air force installation represents a breakthrough both in science and in military terms; it is first and foremost a peak, the summit of human achievement. And that is where UFOs appeared fairly often. Moreover, individual officers and commanders on the spot who knew about the phenomenon and had no official instructions on the matter, acted on their own initiative to investigate UFOs, recording data, and so on. I know that in some places they even learned to create a situation which would deliberately provoke the appearance of a UFO. A UFO would appear where there was increased military activity connected, say, with the transportation of “special” loads. It was enough artificially stimulate or schedule such a move for a UFO to appear. In other words, some kind of conditional relationship emerged. And they detected it. We’re an intelligent nation, nothing escapes us. I know that at certain testing ranges – I won’t name them,
Because every nuclear rocket, every new Air force installation represents a breakthrough both in science and in military terms; it is first and foremost a peak, the summit of human achievement. And that is where UFOs appeared fairly often.
although it’s no longer a secret – they even learnt to make contact of a kind. What did that consists of? First the UFO appeared; in most instances it was a sphere, but there were other kinds. Contact was achieved with the help of physical indications of behavior – pointing your arms in various directions, say, and the sphere became flattened in the same direction. If you raised your arms three times, the UFO flattened out in a vertical direction three times as well. In the early 1980s, on the instructions of the then Soviet leadership, experiments using technical devices (theodolites, radar stations, and others) were carried out as a result of which the unidentified objects were firmly recorded as instrumental data.
VU: Can you say on what level those researches took place? While studying the material from those observations and the contents of certain documents I formed the impression that the prime reason for circulars and orders on this matter in the armed forces was that they most likely considered UFOs a new sort of weapon belonging to some hostile country. Isn’t that why orders were issued on the rigorous investigation and examination of the appearance and behavior of UFOs by all available ways and means? What was the nature of the recording, on instruments and in written documents, of the time of appearance, trajectory and other characteristics?
VA: I think that on the whole there were two reasons. First, a great deal of information of various kinds was coming in from all over. I know of a case when workers from one of the research establishments outside Moscow flew to Novosibirsk, I think it was, to investigate an air crash. When they came back they wrote a report that they had had an encounter with a UFO that accompanied their plane in the air. Being sensible people and inclined to scientific analysis, they managed to share out their roles so that during the observation some watched and dictated, others sketched, a third group kept track of time. In that way the observation acquired a certain scientific grounding. It wasn’t just a sighting, but a scientific team at work, carrying out a sort of real-time experiment. Reports of UFO sightings came in regularly. And evidently somewhere nearer the core of our leadership in the sphere of the Defense Ministry, the Academy of Sciences and so on, a lot of this kind of information began to build up. And not only from ordinary laymen, but from scientists and professionals as well. Military men in general are not inclined to fantasize. They only report what they see, what actually occurs. They are people you can believe. You should not forget that the arms race was still going on at this time, a struggle for military and other priorities. New discoveries in science and technology were being made all the time. The UFOs were something new and not understood. And there really was an idea that they might be some means of gathering intelligence.