One of the famous 1998 images of the Black Knight Satellite
A persistent UFO conspiracy theory is that there is an alien satellite in orbit around Earth and it’s been there for 13,000 years. So what is it? What is its purpose? And is it really there?
The Black Knight satellite rose to fame in 1998, when an object was photographed from the International Space Station (ISS) during the STS-88 shuttle mission. This object—a black, oddly shaped ‘thing’—was floating in orbit around Earth. Here are two more of the 1998 images…
Could it be an alien spy satellite? A weapon? A mind-control device? An actual alien, lying dormant in orbit?
A lost blanket?
Yes, the official explanation is that the mysterious object in these images is nothing more than a thermal blanket. During one of the astronauts’ EVAs (which means “extravehicular activity”, like a spacewalk), a thermal blanket was lost and drifted away across space. This was confirmed by NASA. The blanket was silver on one side, black on the other and the astronauts photographed it. Black Knight sceptics believe that the photos above are merely the astronauts’ photos of the blanket.
However, UFO conspiracy theorists link the 1998 photos to Nikola Tesla’s radio experiments in 1899, when he intercepted repeating extraterrestrial signals, and unexplained radio echoes heard by amateur radio operator Jorgen Hals in 1927.
In 1973, Scottish author Duncan Lunan speculated that such signals originated from a 13,000-year-old alien probe in orbit around Earth’s moon. He ended up throwing doubt on his own conclusions, but the 13,000-year-old probe idea caught on. The STS-88 mission helped cement the hypothesis that the signals picked up by Tesla and Hals were coming from the mysterious object that ISS photographed.
The scientific community rejects any such hypothesis. While they cannot offer an explanation for the 1899 and 1927 noises, they don’t believe there’s any evidence that an alien satellite is sitting in orbit of Earth or the moon. Martina Redpath of Armagh Planetarium in Northern Island says:
“Black Knight is a jumble of completely unrelated stories: reports of unusual science observations, authors promoting fringe ideas, classified spy satellites and people over-interpreting photos. These ingredients have been chopped up, stirred together and stewed on the internet to one rambling and inconsistent dollop of myth.”
Redpath really needs to get off the fence!
In recent months, the Black Knight satellite has been back in the news. Last summer, Sarah Roth videoed a black object hurtling past the moon, which she conjectured could be the Black Knight satellite…
Then in January of this year, YouTube channel Section 51 2.0 released a video containing footage allegedly leaked out of Russia and filmed in January by ISS. The footage is said to take place very close to the Russian Soyuz spacecraft and depicts a mysterious black object—extremely similar to the one from the 1998 photos—in orbit around Earth…
Section 51 2.0 has been repeatedly accused of releasing digitally created hoaxes, but the channel denies this and says the footage is legit. The footage has been hotly debated by conspiracy theorists and sceptics and Kirill Polishchuk believes it’s just a thermal blanket again.
Seriously, another one? Do these clumsy astronauts have some problem keeping hold of their thermal blankets? Or are they just screwing with us?
I’m not sure what to make of these latest images. I guess they could be anything, or at the very least, they’re hoaxes. To say that we’re seeing evidence of an alien satellite is a stretch — we simply don’t have enough evidence. And if these photos and videos and strange radio signals really do indicate the presence of an alien satellite in orbit, why isn’t NASA investigating it?
Still, the idea that aliens put an object in orbit thousands of years ago to watch us is a fascinating thought. No doubt conspiracy theorists combine this idea with the theory that aliens played some part in our creation.
Of course, some people believe that aliens are secretly still among us. They’re the shape-shifting extraterrestrial lizards that David Icke goes on about. So could the Black Knight satellite be a communications beacon, designed to transmit messages between the lizards and the Draco constellation where they hail from?