During the first mission of the Space Shuttle (STS-88) on the IIS in 1998, a series of controversial images of a large black object suspended in low orbit emerged.
Was the object in question dubbed “Black Knight”, whether it was an alien satellite?
According to some, NASA and the US government are hiding the existence of an artificial extraterrestrial satellite in near-polar orbit that has been observing mankind for at least 12,000 years.
The name would be taken from an alien spaceship that John Keel described in orbit around Earth in Disneyland of the Gods in 1988.
According to ufologists, the most striking part of the mysterious “Black Knight” is the fact that it is stuck in polar orbit around the Earth.
Polar Orbits are often used to map and observe the Earth, capturing images of the planet’s vital conditions and scanning it over time. So it would be nothing more than a reconnaissance probe.
Monitoring agencies around the world have reported that they have been picking up radio signals from the anomalous object for over 50 years.
Going back in time we find, already in 1930, reports made by some international astronomers, who reported the presence of mysterious radio signals presumably coming from the “Black Knight“.
Some believe that there is a connection with the phenomenon of long delayed echoes and report that Nikola Tesla picked up a radio signal that was repeated several times in 1899 that was believed to come from space.
The hypothesis that Black Knight is a satellite originated in 1954, when many newspapers including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the San Francisco Examiner published stories attributed to UFO researcher Donald Keyhoe, who said that the US Air Force had identified two satellites of unknown origin orbiting the Earth.
In February 1960 the US Navy reported a black object circling in an orbit inclined at 79° from the equator and with an orbital period of 104.5 minutes. It was also noted that it had a very strange orbit, with an apogee of 1728 km (1074 mi) and a perigee of only 216 km (134 mi).
Even more mysteriously, the Gruman Aircraft Corporation showed interest in the alleged alien satellite. On 3 September 1960, seven months after the satellite was detected by radar, a monitoring camera located at Grumman’s Long Island plant captured a photograph of the “Black Knight”.
Three years after the first sighting of the Black Knight, on 15 May 1963, the first space flight was launched and on board (of the Mercury-Atlas 9) was astronaut-pilot Gordon Cooper.
During that space flight, Gordon himself reported that he saw a mysterious UFO, more precisely a glowing green object in front of his capsule, in the distance and moving towards his spacecraft. The monitoring station at Muchea, Australia, reported that the object sighted by Cooper was real and radar detected its presence in space. The object was travelling from east to west.
In 1973 the Scottish writer Duncan Lunan analysed the data of Norwegian radio researchers and came to the conclusion that they had produced a star map, pointing the way to Epsilon Boötis, a double star in the constellation Boote.
Lunan’s hypothesis was that these signals were transmitted by a 12600-year-old object located at one of Earth’s Lagrange points.
Duncan later discovered that his analysis was based on imperfect data and withdrew it, without ever mentioning the black orbiting wreck.
Some ufologists, analyzing the Black Night photo, thought that the vehicle might actually be Pakal’s spacecraft, a hypothetical Mayan spacecraft found by the controversial pseudo-archaeologist Erich von Däniken.
The so-called Black Knight satellite should be nothing more than space debris, photographed by the Space Shuttle Endeavour crew on 11 December 1998 during the eighty-eighth mission of the Space Shuttle Programme.
The eighty-eighth mission of the Space Shuttle Programme was launched on 4 December 1998 by the John F. Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral. It was the first assembly mission of the International Space Station. The Space Shuttle Endeavour carried on board the US Unity module which, during the mission, was docked to the Russian Zarja module.
During one of the extravehicular activities necessary to complete the union and connection between the two modules, astronaut Jerry Ross lost a thermal blanket that he was supposed to install on the Unity module to thermally insulate some metal elements (pins) that had been used to anchor the module itself during transport in the Shuttle’s hold.
The thermal blanket (MLI) is made of a synthetic material known by the trade name of kapton. Kapton can have different colours depending on the surface treatment: for thermal blankets it is quite common a type that has the same appearance as the photograph in question, aluminised on the inside and black (treated with carbon fibre) on the outside.
NASA astronauts took in two minutes a photographic sequence of the moving object of which the photograph of the alleged Black Knight satellite is part.
With a rather large extension with respect to its mass, the detritus had a low ballistic coefficient.
Atmospheric resistance would therefore have slowed it down rapidly, causing it to return soon.