ISS astronaut Brent Jett spotted three objects from the International Space Station (ISS) that appeared to be flying in formation, in an experience he described as “unlike anything I’ve seen before”.
Last weekend, Elon Musk’s SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule blasted NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken from the Kennedy Space Centre to the International Space Station. The launch, which was watched by millions around the world, caused a conspiracy frenzy when some eagle-eyed viewers claimed they spotted an “anomaly” during the spaceship’s entry into orbit. But, in 2006, astronauts preparing to return home on the Space Shuttle Atlantis had a similar first-hand experience, as they prepared to return home following 12 days on the ISS.
The Science Channel’s ‘NASA’s Unexplained Files’ revealed how Commander Brent Jett called Mission Control to report sighting three objects in space that appeared to be flying in formation.
In a recording, Mr Jett said: “There’s some kind of reflective structure.
“It’s a structure that’s definitely not rigid, it’s not a solid metal structure.
“It’s not like anything I’ve ever seen on the outside of the shuttle, that’s for sure.”
Space historian, Christopher Orwoll, shed more light on the bizarre event.
He added: “The day before the shuttle returns back to Earth, the commander reports seeing something that he’s not seen before.
“Strangely enough, at that point, you have multiple objects, two more joins in and essentially form some triangular formation.”
Former UFO investigator at the Ministry of Defence, Nick Pope, explained why the report was taken so seriously by NASA.
He said: “Mission Control takes over the payload bay camera and that’s when things get interesting.
“We are awash with stories about unexplained crafts, but when you get these from astronauts you pay a little more attention.”
Based on the way the objects were moving, NASA concluded that the mysterious objects were space debris reflecting the sunlight.
Former NASA engineer, Jim Oberg, explained why objects in space will always appear more exciting than they truly are.
He said: “The videos were looked at right away and engineers jumped on it to find out what it is.
“You are flying through a vacuum so things out at space will generally tend to hang out together.
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“Having three objects will always form a triangle.”
But, not everyone agreed with the official explanation.
Space blogger, Dan Benkert said during the series: “NASA’s explanation of space junk, to me, is just ridiculous.
“They should be able to recognise what space junk is, these guys are astronauts, they are trained for it.”
The narrator went on to reveal how NASA eventually found evidence that a piece of Atlantis had broken off during the flight.
He said: “NASA fears the Atlantis is seeing a critical piece of its hardware that’s broken off.
“Unsure what these objects are, NASA doesn’t take any chances and delays the landing to check that Atlantis has not been compromised.
“One day after first sighting the mysterious flashing lights, STS-115 is finally clear to land.
“When they later examine Atlantis, NASA confirms that it was hit by a micrometeorite.”