Mysterious light spotted in the sky – evidence of “Secret” US Airforce spaceplane.
Image Credit: Greg Roberts
On Tuesday 11 December, at around 8:40pm SAST, people across the Cape Town area looked up and saw something marvelous in the sky. A shining apparition of light, spreading out from a point and slowly fading, prompting many to phone their local observatories and astronomy clubs to ask about UFO’s.
People must have wondered why the scientific community remained silent on this. Apart from a few lines in local newspapers, sights like this get ignored by media and governments of the world. Why, when they’re supposed to be so interested in life on other planets, when they sponsor projects to search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, when respectable organizations like NASA have entire departments devoted to studying alien life (although, lacking actual discoveries of alien life, they are limited to working out where future explorers might be able to find it).
The answer is simply that these and other similar apparitions have earthly origins. The Norwegian spiral turned out to be a failed rocket launch. Russia had issued a number of warnings to shipping to avoid a certain area known to be under the flight path of rocket launches, and shortly afterwards the spiral appeared in the sky along the same flight path. Although the matter was officially never resolved (Russia immediately denied any launches, despite having issued launch warnings, leading most to suspect that it was a test launch of a new ICBM design), it’s now generally accepted that a rocket was launched, and malfunctioned. It went into a spin, causing the rocket trail to form the spiral that so many people saw.
X-37b spaceplane, hidden by it’s protective
fairing, waits on top of an Atlas V rocket for
And the Cape Town event? That’s even less mysterious. The United States Air Force is currently operating a robotic space plane called the X-37b, which is
capable of staying aloft for almost a year at a time, and rapidly changing its orbit. Launches are very hard to keep secret, because they put on such a spectacular show. The Cape Town event is a case in point – veteran satellite watcher Greg Roberts knew that the X-37b had just been launched, and was watching for it to pass overhead. When he saw the immense cloud ahead of it, he immediately assumed that the Atlas rocket, having completed its task of hoisting the X-37b into space, had vented its remaining fuel into space before falling back to Earth. In an email to the Astronet mailing list, he wrote “Well I hoped some people had a look – an absolutely fantastic sight!!! Spot on time but we were treated to two objects – the OTV3 craft as well as the second stage rocket but even better was the very bright plume ahead of OTV3 which was due to probably hydrogen venting. I obtained numerous photographs as well as video and will post some tomorrow”.
The following day, however, the members of the list had had a chance to properly analyse Greg’s video footage, and came to the conclusion that it was not a fuel dump at all. Rather, they believe that both the spaceplane and the booster rocket had executed a reverse burn of their engines to slow them down – the spaceplane to bring it to a lower orbit, and the rocket booster to prepare to re-enter the atmosphere.
Greg’s video and photographs have since been compiled into a youtube video (left), showing the entire event and explaining exactly what’s going on at each stage. It’s well worth a watch!