A War Of Words
After receiving the letter on the previous page, we thought it only fair for UFO Magazine to have a fair say on the matters raised.  We also wrote to STS-75 Lead Flight Director, Chuck Shaw,
and got a very interesting response.... Please read below.



Quite a lot of information to digest, but for the record:

Neither Tim Matthews or Timothy Good were present on the Sunday at the 18th Leeds International UFO Conference last September, but both were in attendance on the Saturday. A tiny clip from the NASA footage was shown on the Saturday, but much more, including that of the Tether I presented the next day.

One can be selective in choosing terminology from NASA's official report into the loss of the Tether (the second time an experiment with a tethered satellite has failed), but the re-programming of its on-board computers,after NASA had re-established contact with the satellite, is but one of many puzzles that stem from that particular mission.

How wonderful it would be if the Tether managed to produce hundreds ofplasma-like objects, that skirt to all directions of the compass, thathover, float and expand to almost a mile across before passing too and fro behind the Tether at 77, then 100 miles distance.

What marvellous technology can be derived from this amazing scientificdiscovery I wonder? Plasma-fired rockets to Mars, or beyond?

Patience is a watchword. However, some of the accounts can be gleaned fromthe March/April issue of UFO Magazine (on sale across the UK from 24February and in 42 nations around the world thereafter).

Why, I wonder, do those scientists who have seen some of this material haveto pick themselves off the floor? Why is a top scientist at NASA prepared to dismiss all previous explanations put forward in respect of - THE SECOND SPACE PHENOMENA.

That, incidentally, is not your proverbial 'Spheres'.

It's something new, and when a designer of the Space Shuttle was presentedwith images during a lecture he gave in Canada, he promptly picked up hispapers and left the building. Prior to that, he was quite comfortable torespond to questions about 'Ice Crystals'...

So you see, at the end of the day anyone can speculate about what is or whatis not on the footage, but unless you've downloaded every second of everyspace shuttle mission over the past 5 years, watched it frame by frame andduly logged each entry taken from some 520 tapes (amounting to over 2,500 hours), you will have a serious credibility problem in attempting to debunk or dismiss every single frame, unless, of course, that's what you are claiming to have done.

It's that kind of speculation which led to spurious claims by some veryill-informed individuals that the man who provided this footage was noneother than 'Wille' (mainly responsible for the release of some sequences from STS-84). Have you been successful in acquiring - direct from NASA -STS-84 footage?

Have you hours and hours of footage gleaned from Russia, dating back to1989?

Have you sat over breakfast with a Cosmonaut who spent 6 months on MIR?

Sorry to go on, but there's a lot of people out there who need a helpinghand of support from time to time whenever the sceptics and debunkers join ranks to dismiss as foolish nonsense anything and everyone connected to thesubject.

Last but not least, has anyone ever wondered why the Pope gave his personalblessing to the Acapulco UFO Congress last December, and extended it to Jaime Maussan?

There's food for thought...

Russel Callaghan & Graham W. Birdsall


In recent weeks (8/8/2000) we have had further discussions with John Locker and James Oberg concerning the 'Tether Footage'. We also have reprinted a letter from Dr. Bruce Maccabee.

Cosmic Conspiracies have been having a debate with John Locker and James Oberg (NASA) over the tether sequence in the last week or so. Both are very sceptical of the footage being strange in any way. I have had the usual 'ice particle' explanation or 'space debris' from Mr Locker. But Mr Oberg seems to think we see the images on the film because they are refractions in the lense, or caused by some strange lighting effects on the colour wheels. Mr Locker accuses me of not having any experience with filming in space, of which I suggest very few would - not even himself, and that I shouldn't comment because I know nothing about space flight and photography. What I want to know is, Mr Oberg works for NASA and obviously is more accustomed to watching these films. He says objects appear because of very rare, lighting and atmospheric conditions. So who is right? One is telling me this is normal procedure, and anyone familiar with space missions would often see this. Then a NASA expert tells me that this is not so? Who do we believe?

I was told by Mr Oberg that the red and green '2nd phenomena' flashes on the film were nothing more than cosmic rays and are a common occurence. However,since doing some investigations, I have found that CCD cameras which were used to film this event CANNOT detect Cosmic Rays... So I guess that puts another theory out of the window. We are also led to believe that these objects are near-camera 'ice particles', anyone who is familiar to photography would know that near-camera objects would be focused out (especially as these are of microscopic dimensions as suggested by Mr Locker) when zooming to an object 70+ miles away. I have therefore suggested that these objects are near the tether and not directly in front of the camera.You can see this because if you slow down the sequence where a disc passes close to the tether - it doesn't pass behind the tether by the way - it leaves a shadow on the lighted part of the tether, which we are led to believe is only a few centrimetres in width. I ask how can an object, no matter how long, be filmed in space some 70+ miles away when it is only a few centimetres thick? what an amazing camera this must be. For example try filming a completely lit up lampost from 70 miles distance.. I dont think you would even see it - let alone film it.

We are told that the footage is taken 3 days after the tether broke away.. and that (conveniently) the 'phenomena' that we see is nothing more than a 'toilet flush' that had been carried out a few hours before filming commenced. Isn't it funny that everytime there is some weird space footage, they are always in the toilet??? Anyone can apply simple mathematics and work out that the 'Tether' must be moving at approximately one mile an hour (72 hours and 70+ miles away). If this is so, we can calculate that the 'toilet flush' should therefore be approximately 2 miles away, not right in front of the camera. I know that Mr Locker and Mr Oberg are in contact with each other, because they have forwarded my posts to each other. I therefore suggest that both of you get together and concoct a story that matches each other perfectly.

We are all told that we are inferior to NASA scientists and that we have no right to comment because we are not qualified scientists. But I do know my metric from imperial - not like NASA when they were calculating the flight path of the latest Mars probe, hence its disappearance... or did it? did you know that it would have just used Mars as a slingshot to go further into deep space! You dont have to be a scientist to apply common sense.

All sceptics seem to suffer from the same two things...


The following letter was sent by Dr. Bruce Maccabee
Although I have not been involved in the tethered controversy (controversy is tethered to this video !).... nevertheless I have done some experimentation which could have an impact on the analysis of the tether video. In particular, I have studied the images formed by tiny particles close to the camera when brilliantly lit, in this case by a flash, but in the case of the shuttle video, lit by the sun. It turns out that very tiny particles can make very large, generally round, images whch have the characteristics of "diffuseness," often with a strange (diffraction) pattern running through it and (sometimes a hole in the middle if the image forming optics is of a certain type).. If you go to brumac.8k.com you will see a paper about "orbs". These are "flash orbs" detected only when a flash is used with a normal flash camera. (This des not refer to self-luminous orbs.) If you replace the flash with the sun (a very bright source) and imagine small particles close (cm to a meter or so) to the lens, you can see a comparison between these images and those of the tether video. This also explains how an orb" could seem to be behind an object. If the light from the orb particle is less than the light from the distant object (satellite in th tether case) the orb image will seem to disappear where the orb image overlaps the bright image. This makes it appear that the orb object (particle) passed behind the bright object.

We have visited this site, and although Dr. Maccabee has done some excellent research, we feel that the pictures on his site do not show the same phenomena that is captured on 'The Tether Footage'.

STS Lead Flight Director
Replies To Cosmic Conspiracies!!!

This letter also appeared in the March/April edition of UFO Magazine(UK)

I was fortunate to come across a letter from Chuck Shaw who was the lead Flight Director for STS-75 on the web, which addressed issues raised by James Oberg concerning anomalous images that appeared on
the STS-75 footage. As luck would have it the letter also had Mr. Shaw's e-mail, so I decided to put a few questions to him.

Here are his replies to my questions, which arrived on 4 January, 2001. It's funny don't you think, how Mr. Shaw refers to UFOs, when I did not even mention the term in my original letter!

DAVE: Mr Oberg said that the (anomalous phenomenon) was simply 'cosmic rays', but could not comment further after I pointed out that the CCD (Charge Coupled Device) cameras were incapable of
picking this phenomena up?

CHUCK: Unfortunately you are quite incorrect insofar as CCD's not picking up cosmic rays. I am an amateur astronomer, and enjoy astro-photography using both film and a CCD camera I built (a CB245). Quite often I get images with cosmic ray hits on them.  I usually take a series of images and average them to improve signal to noise. And it is not unusual to have several images with cosmic ray hits in them in a series of images. This is well known and quite common to the CCD community. As to whether or not the image artifacts were cosmic ray
hits, there is simply no way to tell, However, it is not unusual to have them.

DAVE: The main question that has foxed me all this time is: if these 'disc-shaped objects' were indeed ice crystals close to the camera lens, how would the camera have picked them up if it was focusing on an object (the tether) which was reported by the film commentator to be 70+ miles away? Surely they would have been focused out, as would water drips on a window if you focused on a far away object? Or are NASA saying that these ice crystal are several miles in width?

CHUCK: It is not unusual for light reflections off ice crystals to cause sun glints back into the cameras. The sun glints are not sensitive to distance (within reason). In addition, any moisture in the camera lense (and there is always some there), aggravates any glints and causes internal reflections inside the lenses. It would be
nice to have state of the art camera on the Shuttle, since they are getting old and suffer a lot from optical and mechanical aggravations. However budget pressure makes you concentrate on more important issues and we learn to live with things like this.

DAVE: We are told that the footage is taken three days after the Tether broke away and that the 'phenomena' that we see is a 'toilet flush' that had been carried out a few hours before filming commenced. Anyone can apply simple mathematics and work out that the Tether must be moving away from the Shuttle at approximately one mile an hour (72 hours and 70+ miles away). If this is so, we can calculate that the 'toilet flush' should therefore be approximately two miles away, not right in front of the camera.

CHUCK: You are neglecting the effects of orbital dynamics, which is the dominant effect. When the Tether separated, the satellite and Tether did, in effect, a 100 ft/sec posigrade manouvre due to differences in altitude of the two masses (which had been constrained to be in the same orbit, and that same effect was what was providing the tension in the Tether), which moved the satellite and Tether up and behind the orbiter. After three days we lapped the satellite (i.e. we had moved approximately 25,000 miles ahead of it and were coming up on it from below and behind). The 'toilet flush' you mentioned was actually a supply of waste water dump that we
periodically have to do. The fuel cell and waste water are stored in tanks, and when those tanks get full they get dumped through the nozzles overboard. The water freezes as it is dumped and makes a huge
cloud of 'snow'. We typically dump the retrograde to allow orbital dynamics to help dissipate the cloud away from the orbiter, but there is always a portion that stays with us since the cloud expands very rapidly in all directions when it hits a vacuum. It is not unusual to have a cloud of ice crystals around the orbiter at a variety of
distances for several days after dumps. As much as I would like to think some type of UFO was around, the fact is there was not anything up there that we did not understand.

From: Dave Cosnette
Cosmic Conspiracies
UFORCE International Director (UK)

UFO Magazine Editor Graham Birdsall replies: Although a particularly intriguing contribution to what is an on-going debate over anomalous images gleaned from space shuttle cameras past and present, and in
particular that concerning NASA's STS-75 mission, one has to say that while Charles Shaw's self-built CCD camera may indeed be capable of detecting what he terms 'cosmic rays', equate that with the assertion
by professional CCD manufacturers Lexx Systemes sa (Belgium), that anomalous images known as 'the Second Space Phenomena' and which feature in the video tape The Secret NASA Transmissions: The Smoking Gun, 'cannot be attributed to a CCD being affected by 'cosmic rays' or anything else'. All the more curious then for Charles Shaw to concede that there is 'simply no way' of telling what the image artifacts ('Second Space Phenomena') are. Moreover, to offer the excuse that anomalous objects seen to hover, change direction and make intelligently controlled manouvres during the STS-75 mission is due entirely to 'budgetary pressures' that have resulted in a lack of 'state of the art cameras on the Shuttle' beggars belief! And
while it may not be unusual 'to have a cloud of ice crystals around the orbiter at a variety of distances for several days after dumps', it is damned unusual to say the least for that cloud to manifest itself in the vacuum of space and do what it does during the Tether sequence.

A sequence so unique, incidentally, that not one segment of footage from any other STS mission has been found to remotely resemble it. Given Charles Shaw's remarks, one might be forgiven fot offering to donate a standard digital camera to NASA, complete with decent lens for future shuttle missions, given the amount of moisture and debris that apparently plagues NASA's on-board cameras at present. Though it would be interesting to determine quite what the manufacturers of said cameras make of his criticisms.

Graham Birdsall
UFO Magazine Editor (UK)

READERS MAYBE INTERESTED TO LEARN THAT: The complete 2002 budget request, released Monday 9th April, 2001 by President Bush, would give NASA $14.5 billion for fiscal year (FY) 2002. That would be an increase of $250 million -- just under 2 percent -- over the FY 2001 budget. The increase, at best, allows the agency to keep pace with the rate of inflation.