Strap in, readers. This month’s mystery brings us back into Earth’s orbit to examine an object there. According to some, this object is an extraterrestrial satellite used to monitor mankind. According to others, it’s classified NASA technology preparing for some sort of intergalactic war. What is the so-called Black Knight Satellite, and how did it get so close to us? Let’s explore.
The Black Knight Satellite is an object seen in Earth’s orbit. Though its composition is unknown, many believe it to be constructed of some sort of metal, as it is metallic and reflective where light hits it. It moved slowly through space, apparently not in line with how the Earth’s gravitational pull should have moved it. The first known sighting was in 1954, but photographic “proof” was not provided until 1998, but we will get into that proof later. Some accounts of the Black Knight Satellite claim it has been orbiting Earth for over a century, but there is absolutely nothing to substantiate that. Allegedly, after this proof was shared with the world, the object disappeared from orbit and has not been seen since.
To go over the supposed sightings of the Black Knight Satellite, we have to be aware that there is some nuance when it comes to conspiracy theories. Rather than simply believing someone’s account of a sighting, there is 1) the account, 2) the explanation, and 3) the conspiracy’s response or explanation. These encounters may be mostly written off or explained, but conspiracy theorists refuse to accept the explanations and run with the sighting as evidence for their favored theory. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into the individual sightings that get attributed to the BKS.
The first mention of the BKS seems to have occurred in 1954, when a man named Donald Keyhoe tipped newspapers off that two satellites were orbiting Earth, despite the fact that no country had the technology to launch anything into space at that point. However, Keyhoe was a UFO researcher who had a new book coming out shortly after the report. Some people claim it was a joke, and others claim that it was simply a publicity stunt.
The next “sighting” took place in 1960, the United States Navy spotted an object in orbit and believed it was technology employed to spy on the US. It turned out to be debris from the Air Force Discoverer VIII caught in orbit. However, conspiracists believe this to be a cover story to cover up the fact that there was a satellite orbiting Earth. The next sighting came in 1963, when Gordon Cooper, an Astronaut, apparently spotted a UFO while in orbit. His sighting was allegedly confirmed within NASA, but there is no documentation to confirm this.
In 1973, an author named Duncan Lunan studied radio signals and echoes. His conclusion? These mysterious “echoes” could only come from a 13,000 year old extraterrestrial satellite orbiting Earth’s Moon. How did he get to that conclusion? It’s hard to say, because even Lunan eventually admitted he was unscientific in his calculations and theories, and claimed he made several errors.
Now comes the big sighting. In 1998, the ST-88 mission to the International Space Station was photographing space throughout their expedition. One shot captured a strange shape. Conspiracists claim this to be the infamous BKS, though others claim it is heat shielding or a thermal blanket caught in Earth’s Orbit. Believers of the BKS Conspiracy are simply desperate for any crumb of possible proof.
So let’s get into the theories – what was the Black Knight and why was it up there? A lot of people online believe (or desperately want to believe) that it was some sort of alien craft. There are a few different reasons given along with this theory to explain the aliens’ presence near earth, and they range from funny and innocuous to sinister. On the more lighthearted side, some believe that aliens observe humans like humans observe zoo animals. Perhaps they were watching mankind for entertainment. On the more sinister end of the spectrum, perhaps the aliens were observing human behavior to develop a plan of attack, or biding their time before striking – either to destroy or enslave humankind. Of course, we know nothing about whether aliens even exist, so speculating on their intentions is taking several uncomfortable leaps.
The second theory is that the Black Knight is some sort of debris caught in Earth’s gravitational pull. This could be a piece of organic material that broke up in Earth’s orbit, or it could be a piece of a spacecraft sent up by humans. To me, it seems that the latter is the most plausible of all the theories. Remember the description of the satellite – it was reflective where light hit it. It makes sense that it was debris from a spacecraft that was either jettisoned by design or accident. Most proposals in line with this theory suggest that it may be heat shielding or a fuel tank.
Lastly, let’s consider the idea that what the image showed wasn’t actually what was caught in orbit – it could have been magnified or multiplied to look bigger due to a camera glitch. I don’t have a lot to say about this one, as cameras continue to find new and exciting ways to malfunction and glitch out. the object in the infamous photo may have not existed at all, or may have been much smaller or totally different.