David Mayo - The Strange Case of STS-48

David Mayo - The Strange Case of STS-48

Сообщение Timecops » 05 дек 2011, 07:48

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The Strange Case of STS-48
by David Mayo

Source: September 1992 HUFON Report
newsletter of the Houston UFO Network
Posted to UFO World
courtesy of Vince Johnson

It was 1:43am Saturday morning, June 6, 1992. My wife had retired for the evening and I was flipping through the cable channels as men are compelled to do. Just by chance (or providence), I landed on KHTV (Ch 39 locally) where the program "HardCopy" was airing. The host was stating "...amazing videotape taken by a space shuttle astronaut, astounding evidence of UFOs!" Well, For over a year and a half I have been compiling UFO-related television segments from various programs. I jumped up and shoved my latest tape in the VCR and hit record. What followed was intriguing to say the least. Don Ecker, staffer to UFO Magazine, had obtained footage filmed from a recent shuttle mission and had brought it to "HardCopy." The footage showed a dark Earth positioned in the lower two-thirds of the screen. Banded around its middle, the lights of a major city sparkled. The Earth's curvature ran from right mid- frame to upper left corner. Above this, dark space was punctuated by a few stars. A small bright object suddenly appeared midway down the visible edge and traveled right to left at a fast rate following the curvature. There was a brief flash of light that bloomed from the upper left corner and the object made a sudden sharp right hand turn, picked up velocity and sped off into the darkness of space! A split second after this unusual turn, another object streaked upwards from lower in the frame and whizzed past the approximate point where the first object would have been had it not made the right hand turn.Don Ecker expounded that this was an alien spacecraft making an evasive maneuver just before something is shot at it.

Mr. Ecker's opinion not withstanding, NASA's official explanation was that it was ice crystals formed from waste water. "HardCopy's" stance was that this piece of film was either the UFO smoking gun or space debris. I found the entire footage to be something unique and possibly important. Still, this was "HardCopy" after all, not "60 Minutes" and with most news events the truth follows some time later.The next day I called a few people I knew to inquire whether they had seen it.Vince Johnson and Bill Eatwell had not.

However, later, Bill called me back with a mysterious message. He said that after speaking of this program to some of his friends, an unnamed caller instructed him to contact me and ask that I refrain from speaking about the footage any further and, in particular, not publish anything about this in HUFON REPORT. If I agreed and showed good faith, I would receive more information about the event. At first,this rubbed me wrong. I could understand that if the footage was a "smoking gun" and if an investigation was underway, the need for secrecy may be justified. What I couldn't accept was hearing all this third hand. If I am asked to spike a story, I want to know who is doing the asking. Instead, I was mollified by the promise of straight answers to any 10 questions I wished to ask about the HardCopy footage. My curiosity, at this point, had grown exponentially. Being the beggar and unable to choose, I agreed.

On June 8, I faxed the 10 questions I had compiled to Bill. He, in turn, faxed them to a neutral fax location (number) he was given. The questions were as follows:

1) What is the entire scenario of what I witnessed (i.e., what was transpiring)?

2) Which shuttle mission did this occur on?

3) If the object is an alien spacecraft, what was its size, speed and distance from the camera?

4) Was this object taking evasive action to avoid some sort of weaponry?

5) On the footage I saw, there was a brief flash that brightened the entire frame just before the object made the right angle turn. What caused this flash?

6) Could this be or have some relationship with SDI testing?

7) What is the position or opinion of the astronauts who filmed the object?

8) How did "HardCopy" or Don Ecker obtain this footage?

9) Does the extent of this investigation include congressional interest? In other words, give me some idea of what level of personnel is working on this.

10) When can the public or I expect this investigation to conclude?

With the exception of number 3 (an obviously loaded question), it seemed like a good list.

On June 10th, I was at work when I received a call from Bill. He says that the person involved with the investigation would be faxing me the answers within the next hour. The answers arrived on schedule. The answer sheet began with a few paragraphs stating the need for secrecy, the rules I must follow and the request that I not get paranoid. It stated that the "HardCopy" footage was of "Event #2", taken during STS-48. Further, it was NASA's opinion that the flash was from an attitude thruster firing. Lastly, The sheet stated that three major government offices were involved and that an official congressional inquiry had occurred.That was it. Bill Eatwell's involvement ceased at this point at the insistence of the unnamed source. I was also enjoined to not reveal any of this to anyone, including Bill. So here I was, involved in an honest-to-God high level investigation. Yet, all I could do was sit and wait. Just days from this, we would be publishing the June HUFON REPORT. Though anxious to tell someone, anyone of this, I held my peace and reported nothing in the newsletter. A little over two weeks later, another event changed the course of my involvement.

What with the presidential race developing into a three way free-for-all, I had been checking out "Larry King Live" on CNN each night. On June 26 at 8:32pm (30 minutes into his show), I suddenly remembered Larry King and switched to it. Astonishingly enough, he was introducing Don Ecker in LA. and James Oberg (ostensibly representing NASA) in Houston. The topic? You guessed it. I jumped up (I'm getting good at this) and shoved a tape in. What followed was a head to head confrontation between Don, doing his best impression of a UFO investigator, incensed at the government cover-up that Oberg was there to perpetrate and James, doing his best to appear as an interested "space nut" while touting the NASA line. Between the personal attacks on each other (that Larry King appeared powerless to control), some facts were revealed that jibed with the information I had received. This, at least, verified that I was dealing with a serious investigator.

One of the calls taken that night by Larry King was from Vincent DiPietro from Sykesville, MD. He apparently had digitally enhanced some of the Event #2 footage revealing a possible domed object. Mr. Ecker knew of this and, by inference, admitted he knew Mr. DiPietro. Still, Mr. DiPietro's opinion followed the NASA party line; that the object was an ice crystal that moved suddenly due to a shuttle attitude thruster firing. His opinion is noteworthy due to his name showing up in a very prominent manner later. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. More on Vincent DiPietro later.

Although I was told not to, I called Bill once more and informed him that while I was keeping my mouth shut, the story was showing up on nationally broadcast programs. Enough was enough. I had shown good faith. The secrecy was becoming an irritant, if for no other reason than my friend and UFO confidant (not to mention co-editor of HUFON REPORT, Vince Johnson, deserved to know about this story. Now I wanted to talk to someone. After this call, I wondered if I would hear from anyone again. I didn't have to wait long.

On Saturday, June 27th, Bill called me with a very brief message. The source of my information would be calling me in 15 minutes. Well, finally. Moments later, the phone rang. To my surprise, it was Ron Madeley, a past president of HUFON. He explained that he was giving me exclusive information, unavailable to any other publication. He stated that his belief in my seriousness to the study of UFOs and his opinion that HUFON REPORT had become the best UFO newsletter around helped him pick me. I'm not above praise so I thanked him, then insisted that I be shown something to convince me. Exactly, what was going on? Why "Event 2"? Were there other events? He agreed to visit me and bring the visual evidence of more than I was aware of. This story was about to become something much bigger, involving Congressional evasion, implausible deniability, and a flock of scientists, astronauts and physicists.

A few days later, Ron arrived at my house, bearing a briefcase. We sat on the sofa as he discussed some of the background of this particular shuttle flight. STS-48 was a September '91 launch of the space shuttle Discovery. It carried several scientific experiments including radiation monitoring, zero gravity crystal growth, polymer growth and rodent physiology. Cargo payloads included the UARS (Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite) and the APM-03 (Atmospheric Particle Monitor-3). There were five crew members: John Creighton, Commander; Kenneth Reightler, Jr. Pilot; Charles D. Gemar, Mission Specialist 1; James F. Buchli, Mission Specialist 2; and Mark N. Brown, Mission Specialist 3. Although this was not a DoD mission, all crew members were active duty military personnel. Ron mentioned a few other tidbits about congressional involvement but did not elaborate any further. The time had come to show and tell. He handed me a video tape. He explained he was going to show me Event #2 as it should be seen, not the multi- generational degraded footage shown on "HardCopy".

He was not exaggerating. This footage was not only extremely sharp and clear, but it was evident that the "HardCopy" footage had been an apertured-down version restricting the field of view. This time It was evident that the object did not suddenly appear, rather it had appeared when its course brought it from behind the Earth's rim, revealing itself against the dark Earth below. There were other anomalous objects in the frame. Some were moving in a similar direction but slower, while others appeared to be slowly converging on the first object. Ron explained that the real curiosity was the NASA explanation. During the course of all shuttle flights there is a long schedule of events. Everything from course corrections, rotating the shuttle due to the sun's heat and waste water ejection are performed according to schedule. NASA had stated that the brief flare was the firing of an attitude adjustment jet, required just prior to the waste water ejection procedure. Further, they explained that the object seen to make a right hand turn was merely a small ice crystal reacting to the thruster fire. The problem with this is that, based on actual NASA audio logs of the mission, an attitude adjustment and subsequent waste water ejection procedure occurred just after Event 2! The NASA explanation was patently wrong.

In the days that followed, Ron began to relate the details of the on-going investigation that these anomalous events had created. The number of players was enormous and as I was inundated by the names, dates, and activities, I finally admitted to Ron that he must allow me to bring another person in on this. I requested that Vince Johnson be included. He agreed. After the initial couple of meetings I had with Mr. Madeley, The three of us finally gathered at my home to view all the footage and to receive some further information for the inevitable writing of this article. We first viewed Event 2, bringing Vince up to date.

As amazing as this footage was, we were not prepared for the next bit of tape he showed us. As I loaded another tape he gave me into the machine, Ron explained that there were a total of six events recorded during the STS-48 mission. He hit the play button and showed us an amazing Event #3. This piece of footage is hard to describe due to the overwhelming activity present during the several seconds. The view was of the Earth in daylight. Clouds obscured much of the unidentified land mass below. As we watched, a small object streaked across the bottom of the frame right to left. Then, another, from left to right. A larger, bright object entered from upper left frame and traveled to the lower right. It appeared elongated, then slowed and became rounder, then exited the picture. Still another object, even brighter, entered from the lower left corner and traveled diagonally toward the upper right hand corner. Approximately midway, a smaller object streaked from the right and appeared to either intersect or pass above or below the brighter object. The bright object continued out of frame. Immediately following this, all hell seemed to break loose as multiple objects of varying brightness streaked through the field of ections; left to right, right to left, upper to lower; incredible activity everywhere! If all the anomalies had been traveling in the same direction a case could have been made that we were witnessing meteorites, but this was no meteor shower.

The last anomalous event within this Event #3 was perhaps the strangest, and of the shortest duration. In the upper left hand corner of the frame a very unusual object appeared for a brief moment before the view was switched to another shuttle camera. This object looked all the world like a domed object moving left to right! When viewed several times in a row, this impression was strengthened. This object could not be explained easily. Following this, we were shown Events #6, #4 and #1. These events, although significant, were minor compared to #2 and #3.

On November 11, 1991, Vincent DiPietro, an employee of GSFC (Goddard Space Flight Center), issued a report to the Fund for UFO Research detailing his own investigation into the first four events of STS-48. It is interesting to note that Mr. DiPietro's report, written long before the Larry King show, shows a distinct pro-UFO stance contrasting greatly with his opinion offered to Larry King. During his inquiries he spoke to several scientists, astronauts and other ranking individuals. He asked each to describe the four events. Those claiming that the objects were ice were: Dr. Paul Lowman, Lunar Geologist Scientist at GSFC, Dr. Terry Dawson, Space Science and Technology Committee, Dr. Ken Rightler, STS-48 Astronaut, and Dr. Mark Brown, STS-48 Astronaut. Dr. Ron Parise, Astronaut at GSFC, claimed that the objects were meteors (even though he refused to view the tape). Don Haxton, Astronomer for the Space Telescope, claimed that the objects were not meteors. At the time of Mr. DiPietro's report, the NASA Public Affairs Administrators at GSFC had not responded to his inquiries, nor had Dr. Bogges, Chief Scientist for the Space Telescope project at GSFC. Among the various explanations given to explain the anomalous events were: the rockets on the side of STS-48 could have produced a blast of gas which could have deflected the objects, causing the unusual right-hand turn, and that STS-48 was just coming into the daylight and the objects (that seemed to appear out of thin air) could have been there all along, but might have been illuminated by sunlight when Event #2 started. Based on his investigation, Vincent DiPietro could come to no firm conclusions concerning the strange events of STS-48.

All of this evidence suggests some very odd activity during this shuttle mission. Mr. Madeley's own investigation has lasted more than five months. Several experts, in a variety of fields, have agreed to make their opinions available to him in exchange for being allowed to remain anonymous. The following article provides a more detailed look at Events 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6.

Mr. Madeley graciously provided much of the details for Event 2. The details of the other events are either written from memory (we weren't allowed our own copy of the footage) or are taken from Mr. DiPietro's own investigation. We will be bringing you further information on this emerging story as it becomes available. During his investigation, Ron was showing the Event 3 footage over and over to an engineer working at the NASA Johnson Space Center. Ron asked what he thought it all was. The engineer replied, "I keep watching different things everytime you play it. Like I told you before; I thought I was watching a Star Wars movie or something from Hollywood!" And, in the words of one scientist working at the Sandia National Laboratories, "You have something quite important there."

Copyright 1992 by Houston UFO Network / David Mayo

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