In a notable occurrence on September 15, 1991, the Space Shuttle Discovery captured footage that has since become a central topic of discussion among UFO researchers and enthusiasts. During the mission, as the shuttle orbited Earth, its rear-mounted TV camera, which was aimed at the Earth’s horizon, recorded an unusual event involving unidentified flying objects (UFOs).
The footage, captured between 20:30 and 20:45 Greenwich Mean Time, showed a glowing object appearing below the horizon, moving slowly from right to left and slightly upward. Before this, several other glowing objects were visible, moving in various directions. A significant moment in the footage was a flash of light in the lower left of the screen, after which the main object, along with others, changed direction and accelerated sharply, as if responding to the flash. This was followed by streaks of light moving through the area previously occupied by the UFOs.
This video sequence, picked up live by numerous amateur enthusiasts directly monitoring the transmissions, has been widely circulated and featured in news broadcasts globally. It shows several small bright objects maneuvering on screen, apparently interacting in a complex pattern. While skeptics have often argued that these are simply ice particles common in shuttle orbits, UFO investigators have contested this view.
Richard C. Hoagland, a U.S. scientist, argued against the ice particle theory, asserting that the objects were large-sized and located hundreds of kilometers away from the shuttle. One UFO, in particular, seemed to rise from below the Earth’s dawn horizon, clearly emerging from behind the atmosphere and the ‘airglow’ layers, indicating it was in orbit around the Earth and moving swiftly.
Following a sudden, bright flash of light to the left of the picture, below the shuttle, the UFO dramatically altered its trajectory and sped off into space at an extraordinary velocity. Two thin beams of light, or possibly condensation trails, were observed moving rapidly upward from the Earth’s surface towards the position where the UFO would have been had it continued its original orbit.
Subsequent analysis of the video suggested astonishing details about the event:
The UFO’s speed before its sudden acceleration was estimated to be 87,000 kilometers per hour.
Post-flash, the UFO reportedly changed direction and accelerated to 340,000 kilometers per hour within 2.2 seconds, an acceleration that would exert a force of approximately 14,000 g (14,000 times the force of gravity).
The distance from Discovery to the Earth’s horizon at the time of filming was approximately 2,757 kilometers.
The light flash and subsequent light beams (or contrails) shooting into space have been interpreted by some as a ground-based attempt to disrupt or destroy the UFO. Hoagland posited that the incident might represent a test of “Star Wars” weapons technology against a drone (the UFO). Other investigators have theorized that it was an attempt against an extraterrestrial UFO, suggesting the involvement of advanced technology of a caliber akin to that depicted in “Star Wars.”
Further insights emerged when New Zealand investigators reviewed the footage and corrected the time it was taken. Their analysis revealed that the UFO incident occurred over Australia, not the Philippine Islands as originally thought. The shuttle was above Western Australia, near Lake Carnegie, when the UFO first appeared. The light flash and one contrail were traced back to Exmouth Bay near the North West Cape military facility, while a second contrail was linked to the Pine Gap military facility in central Australia.
U.S. researchers have sought further information from their Australian counterparts, but have been hampered by Australia’s stringent secrecy laws. The data available so far originates primarily from the U.S. and New Zealand sources.
This incident, seemingly captured by chance, along with other UFO sightings recorded by NASA, has significantly influenced the agency’s decision to discontinue live television transmissions from space. The Discovery shuttle footage of September 15, 1991, thus remains a topic of intrigue and debate, offering a glimpse into the complex and often controversial realm of UFO research and the possibilities of advanced aerospace technology.
Watch the video below to see the actual footage of this extraordinary event.
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