Astronaut Gordon Cooper-UFOs and Aliens

Gordon Cooper, astronaut and American hero, claimed his first experience with UFOs was the sighting of high flying objects while flying with the 86th Fighter-Bomber Wing, U.S. Air Force, over West Germany in 1951. (The Air Force suggested they were high flying seed pods.)

His second experience occurred in 1957 while serving as a test pilot and project manager at Edwards AFB in California. On May 3rd of that year he had instructed a crew to install a cinetheodolite precision landing system on a dry lake bed. The system would take pictures at a frame a second as an aircraft landed. The crew began work at the site just before 0800. According to accounts, the crew met with Cooper, somewhat shaken, later that morning, to inform him of their witnessing a “strange-looking, saucer-like” aircraft land and take off in complete silence.  

Cooper realized that these men, familiar with the coming and going of experimental aircraft, had seen something beyond the norm. He listened as they described the saucer in detail, how it hovered above them, then landed nearby on three legs before taking off again as they moved in for a closer look. In keeping with their job as photographers they (fortunately) carried cameras both still and motion picture and in this case were able to capture images of the object. Developing the photographs/film revealed the images to be of excellent quality, proof positive of the encounter, and following established procedures Cooper forwarded the records to the proper authorities. He expected a follow up, since a craft of unknown origin landing in the middle of a highly classified military facility was highly suspect, but heard nothing. As for the records they simply disappeared, the assumption being they ended up buried in the archives of the USAF's Project Blue Book. [1]

Cooper steadfastly maintained, until his death, that the U.S. Government was covering up information about UFOs. He pointed to the hundreds of reports from military pilots sent to respond to radar and visual sightings. In his memoirs Cooper wrote he had seen unexplained aerial phenomena himself several times during his career and that they were just a few of the total. He reiterated his claims that these sightings had been “swept under the rug” by the U.S. Government. [2]

Cooper flew three times into orbit, his first during the Mercury program lasted nearly 34.5 hours; his second during the Gemini program, done with Pete Conrad, set a space endurance record for the time, marking a milestone in the space race. America surpassing the Soviet Union with total accumulated hours in orbit. His third took place after his death, in memoriam, when some of his ashes were launched into orbit by SpaceX a privately funded space transportation company.

[1] Project Blue Book was a controversial U.S. Air Force study of the UFO phenomenon whose goal was ostensibly to determine both the validity of unidentified flying objects and whether or not they were a threat to American national security. Started in 1952 and terminated in 1969 it was considered by many in the UFO community to be little more than a government whitewash and part of a general cover up. Its final conclusion was that there was nothing either extraordinary or extraterrestrial about UFOs.

[2] While Cooper denied having seen UFOs himself while in space, he did apparently believe, as allegedly did other astronauts, that extra-terrestrial vehicles were visiting this Earth from other planets. In a letter to the ambassador of Grenada to the United Nations, November 9, 1978, he stated:

"I wanted to convey to you my views on our extra-terrestrial visitors popularly referred to as 'UFOs,' and suggest what might be done to properly deal with them.

I believe that these extra-terrestrial vehicles and their crews are visiting this planet from other planets, which obviously are a little more technically advanced than we are here on earth. I feel that we need to have a top level, coordinated program to scientifically collect and analyze data from all over earth concerning any type of encounter, and to determine how best to interface with these visitors in a friendly fashion. We my first have to show them that we have learned to resolve our problems by peaceful means, rather than warfare, before we are accepted as fully qualified universal team members. This acceptance would have tremendous possibilities of advancing our world in all areas. Certainly then it would seem that the UN has a vested interest in handling this subject properly and expeditiously.

I should point out that I am not an experienced UFO professional researcher. I have not yet had the privilege of flying a UFO, nor of meeting the crew of one. I do feel that I am somewhat qualified to discuss them since I have been into the fringes of the vast areas in which they travel. Also, I did have occasion in 1951 to have two days of observation of many flights of them, of different sizes, flying in fighter formation, generally from east to west over Europe. They were at a higher altitude than we could reach with our jet fighters of that time.

I would also like to point out that most astronauts are very reluctant to even discuss UFOs due to the great numbers of people who have indiscriminately sold fake stories and forged documents abusing their names and reputations without hesitation. Those few astronauts who have continued to have a participation in the UFO field have had to do so very cautiously. There are several of us who do believe in UFOs and who have had occasion to see a UFO on the ground, or from an airplane. There was only one occasion from space which may have been a UFO.

If the UN agrees to pursue this project, and to lend their credibility to it, perhaps many more well qualified people will agree to step forth and provide help and information.

I am looking forward to seeing you soon.


L. Gordon Cooper
Col. USAF (ret)

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