The 'Black Knight' Satellite

We thought you may want to see some different opinions in regards to the famous Black Knight Satellite. Here is a piece from

Sometimes the introduction of a news report will stop you in your tracks, forcing you to reread in fear you didn't quite grasp its point the first time. That was certainly the case when Mail Online(opens in new tab) published a story on Mar. 21, 2017: "An alien satellite set up more than 12,000 years ago to spy on humans has been shot down by elite soldiers from the illuminati, UFO hunters claim."

And with that, the conspiracy surrounding the so-called "Black Knight" satellite appeared to be very much alive.

It's been more than 120 years, conspiracists believe, since the existence of the Black Knight was first recorded. Those who subscribe to the theory invoke an extraterrestrial spacecraft in near-polar orbit of Earth, although they draw upon pieces of evidence so disparate that it's not entirely clear why people link them. What it all amounts to is a strange brew that has spurred some folks to shout about cover-ups by NASA(opens in new tab) and other government entities. It's a legend that refuses to go away.

A lot of the earliest discoveries that have been linked to the Black Knight satellite theory relate to radio signals. But a series of images from 1998 really threw the celestial cat among the pigeons. They were taken during STS-88, the first space shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

There, for all to see, were images released by NASA that showed a black object hovering above our planet in low Earth orbit. And it wasn't long after the images were thrust in front of a hopeful public before people were performing some conspiratorial sums and sharing them with the wider world.

By way of explanation, STS-88 astronaut Jerry Ross pointed out that the ISS was in the midst of being constructed when the images were taken. The U.S. team, he said, was on its way to attach the American module to the one created by the Russians and, as part of that work, they had taken four trunnion pin thermal covers with them. The task was to wrap these around four bare trunnion pins, these being rods that attached the module to the space shuttle Endeavour while it was being transported. This would act to prevent heat loss from the exposed metal.

Unfortunately, during one of the spacewalks associated with this work, things went a little bit wrong: One of the covers came loose from its tether, causing it to float away along with some other items.

"Jerry, one of the thermal covers got away from you," STS-88 commander Robert Cabana (who now serves as associate administrator of NASA) told Ross during the spacewalk, and it soon became apparent that the cover was lost for good.

Subsequently captured on camera, this runaway black object was given the catalog number 025570(opens in new tab) by NASA. A few days later, the item fell from orbit and burned up.

Much of this information been placed on the record. Former NASA engineer James Oberg, who personally knows Ross and the person who took the photos, cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, has demonstrated that these supposed images of the Black Knight actually depict a very mundane object.

Before leaving NASA, I led the trajectory design team that produced the mission profile," Oberg told All About Space(opens in new tab).

"Every step of the way, there is consistency with what I learned as a lifelong spaceflight operations specialist: why the blankets were needed, why one of them came loose, why it floated off the way it did," he added. "The difference is, for the general public all these features are unearthly to folks who are only familiar with Earthside principles of heating, working, motion and dozens of other never-before-encountered-in-history aspects of outer space."

Given Oberg's thorough debunking(opens in new tab), you'd think the matter would have been put to bed long ago. But no. Since the images were shared far and wide, conspiracy theories have lingered.

"They are probably some of the weirdest-looking 70-mm photos to ever come out of the space shuttle program," Oberg said. “And apparently a NASA website update made the original links inoperative, sparking concerns over a cover-up. All normal journalistic practices — determining the timeline, asking witnesses, searching for the wider context — were skipped."

Conspiracists absorbed the STS-88 images into a growing body of "evidence," claiming they were proof that the Black Knight alien satellite really is out there.

Reaching that conclusion, however, has required greats leaps of faith, and has also needed past observations to be forced into the overall story. Firm believers have had no problems going all the way back to 1899 in pursuit of such "truth," but, just like the photographic records, each piece of supposed evidence brought to the table so far has been explained just fine without falling back on the Black Knight myth.

So what happened in 1899? Nikola Tesla began to record some very odd signals, seemingly from outer space. While in his barn-like laboratory in Colorado Springs that year, the genius Serbian-American inventor and electrical engineer noted some unusual radio signals and speculated they had come from an intelligent alien civilization.

That's perhaps the least likely explanation, of course. Over the years, some people have speculated that Tesla may have detected emissions from a pulsar, a superdense, fast-spinning stellar corpse. But that's probably off the mark as well, scientists say.

"The very first source of non-terrestrial radio waves was discovered in the 1930s, and that was from the center of our galaxy, which is the most powerful radio source in the sky at many frequencies," said Varoujan Gorjian, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. "It wasn’t until the 1960s that the technology evolved to detect the first pulsars. If what Tesla detected was a real signal and not an artifact of his instrument, it most likely came from Earth."

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