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World-wide release of NASA STS82 Video, John Locker

A UFO Casebook Exclusive

MISSION FACTS

Mid-February 1997 saw mission STS82 and a shuttle in orbit to carry out repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope.

Things were going well, in fact by early on the morning of February 18th the fifth EVA of the mission had been completed, astronauts Mike Lee and Steve Smith were clambering back into the airlock, securing the thermal cover and preparing to switch to orbiter back up systems while they waited to hear from MCC if their job was completed, or another space-walk would be needed.

The time was 06-39 GMT. I had been monitoring the live TV downlink from the shuttle, relayed by NASA TV into Europe via one of the Eutelsat telecommunications satellites.

STS82 crew, image provided by NASA On screen was a view of the control room. Everyone seemed to be winding down for the evening. (It was after midnight in the US)

The audio link to the two crew members had been left open.

Suddenly, one of the crew helmet microphones crackled into life...and the tone of the voice caught my attention.

Click here for details on the STS-82 mission

THE CONVERSATION

*Conversation starts at 06 h 39 m 44s February 18th*

"What was that flash?"

"I don't know"

"That light flashed possibly just here.....and again" (Laughs)

"...I see it"

"I just thought it was my imagination"

"I saw it too...so its not...there was two of 'em"

"There's another one...what are they?"

(11 sec silence)

"I just saw the lights flickering in here"

"I wonder if they're taking pictures?"

"What is that?"

"This thing passed (flashed ?) in front of us"

"Where are the lights?" A third crew member.

"Which ones?"

"I dipped surveillance for a second, but I had that one the whole time"

"Yeah, I got that one too!"

*Conversation ends at 06 h 41 m 09s*

NASA CUTS LINK

Lee and Smith certainly seemed excited by what they had seen!

At one stage, at least one other crew member, located on the flight deck, joins in.

The video link from the satellite was cut, and the transmission closed down. However I understand from an International News Agency that the main link from NASA remained open for some time after the conversation, but no further reference made to the event.

In fact a few minutes later MCC started to go through normal "housekeeping "items.

The sixth EVA never took place.

NASA decided to bring the crew members back in.

By any standards, this was quite an unusual exchange.

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

At the time I requested a comment from NASA and got the following reply.

"Could have been any number of devices or indicators on the Hubble or their suits. There were no reports of any kind related to UFOs on the STS-82 mission." This is a strange answer as in my original inquiry, no mention was made of UFOs, I merely asked if anyone could explain to me what the crew were referring to.

THE INVESTIGATION

An intensive investigation followed.

Space debris was on the top of my list, so I asked an expert in the field to check out all known orbiting objects...not an easy task, but as we had an exact time to work to, he came up with nothing passing closer than 70 kilometers, having checked over 8000 possible targets tracked by NORAD.

Apart from listed items there are thousands of smaller pieces of space debris which are tracked by Space Command. Some hours before, the shuttle was rumored to have adjusted its orbit to avoid debris from an earlier Pegasus launch.

Mission Control is in regular contact with Space Command Centre in order to provide early warning of any possible orbit conflicts.

It is possible that a cluster of unlisted, small particles, passed very close to Discovery. If they had been "tumbling" as they passed by, they would have reflected sunlight and possibly caused a flashing effect.

This of cause raises the issue that such an incident could have been catastrophic had a collision occurred, and would highlight a weakness in the orbital warning system.

ONGOING SEARCH

Since 1997 I have continued my inquiries.

The incident has been investigated by a number of TV companies, one of which actually interviewed one of the crew members involved.

Unfortunately, he could not recall the event and was unable to throw any light on the matter.

More recently, a well respected US researcher with access to NASA archives has painstakingly gone through all the video records, optimistic that he would find mention of the event.

He spent many hours trawling through the mission schedules etc., but was unable to come up with anything.

A FOIA request for copies of telemetry data is being considered. That might tells us if any of the instruments on board Discovery failed, or showed any anomalies during the time period.

It seems that NASA's own records have a gap around the time of the conversation.

There's nothing sinister about this. After all, they can't keep records of everything.

In addition, NASA TV broadcasts are not archived, other than for specific events.

I don't buy the flashing console lights explanation, but then neither do I subscribe to the UFO theory.

THE VIDEO

Reports from around the world seem to indicate that I hold the only video record of this event. Perhaps not surprising as the conversation took place in the early hours US time and it is understandable that no-one would have noticed anything unusual when reviewing their tapes.

Now, for the first time, the whole sequence is presented, unedited.

From the time the two crew members enter the airlock, until the transmission cuts, approximately 12 minutes later.

The full sequence puts the conversation into context and gives you the chance to try and solve the mystery.

John Locker

Satcom website

NOTES

John's website contains links to his own images of the International Space Station and shuttle Atlantis photographed from the ground. Some of these images have been viewed by ISS crew members, whilst on orbit.

See note below regarding use of NASA material.

16. Videotape and Motion Picture recordings are not protected by copyright unless noted. A recording may be reproduced and distributed, without further permission from NASA. Copyrighted music or footage, which is incorporated in a production, may not be used unless permission is obtained from the copyright owner. While in most instances using non-copyrighted segments is permitted, use for a commercial purpose of a portion or segment containing talent or a recognizable person may infringe a right of publicity and permission should be obtained from the talent or recognizable person. These guidelines also apply to NASA's "live television" satellite broadcasts.

EVA 5 highlights

For answers to additional questions, contact:

NASA Headquarters

Public Services Division (POS)

300 E St. SW Washington, DC 20546

To view video, Click here. Windows Media, 12:28, 2.73 MB.

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