Did N.A.S.A. Film ET?

Cosmic Conspiracies were recently contacted by Satellite Consultant John Locker, concerning two pieces of interesting audio which he heard whilst listening to the STS106 Mission. STS106 was launched on 8th September, 2000 and was the 99th shuttle mission on a 12-day voyage spanning 4.9 milllion miles and 185 complete orbits of the Earth. The astronauts accomplished all of the mission's primary objectives, delivering more than 2.5 tons of supplies and equipment to the international space station and unloading another half-ton of gear from a Russian cargo ship.

However it was during this mission that
two curious audio transmissions were made.


In the first audio sequence we clearly hear Houston say 'Atlantis, Houston, you're go for ET photo and plus x', then Atlantis replies 'We got a second!'. What exactly were they refering to when talking about an ET photo, and were Atlantis refering to a second ET?.
We are not quite sure what the term 'plus x' means, if anybody knows please let us know.

The second audio sequence says 'Gus, sounds like your picking up an echo!'
Could this refer to another craft being picked up on radar? or does it mean that the audio was echoing?

As reported elsewhere on this website, it is alledged that every Apollo mission were accompanied by UFOs, could this be the case here?

Here are John Lockers comments regarding the audio tapes:

First call re echo..could have related to "Shadow " craft...but comms via UHF , relayed during early ascent can have echo effect.    Second call re "ET" refers to "External Tank"   Take those two out of context and you have the makings of a major flap.

PLEASE NOTE: Since releasing this audio, we have had several readers write to us to say that ET is NASA speak for external tank

After careful consideration of John's comments, we would have to ask the question why would NASA use a codename such as ET when they know that this would cause a major UFO flap with many people listening in to the live transmission worldwide. Why would they want to photograph the external tanks in the first place? The final interpretation we will leave up to yourselves.

Cigar-Shaped Object Photographed on STS106 Mission

Cosmic Conspiracies recently obtained this photo which was taken from a still from the STS106 Mission. Jeff Challender who has been viewing NASA footage for many years managed to capture this amazing image of a cigar-shaped object passing near the Space Shuttle Atlantis on its latest mission. He states 'On the evening (US TIME) of 10 September, Atlantis proceeded to dock with the new station.  During this operation, several views of the Shuttle's approach were provided by a black and white video camera mounted on the Russian built Zarya (Sunrise) module, also known as the FGB (Functional Cargo Block).  During one video sequence from Zarya, Atlantis could be seen just a few feet away from final docking.  As the video continued, an anomalous cigar shaped object could also be seen in the field of view. 

This object appeared to be near the Shuttle, but in space, distance is difficult to guage with the eye.  After being in view for only about 12 seconds, the video feed was abruptly cut off.  What the object actually was, is hard to say'.

Jeff has never seen a "cigar-like" object on NASA TV before.  The object in question was certainly NOT ice or debris.  It held stationary for the entire time it was visible, and it's appearance never changed.

One interesting note is that the "cigar" was very carefully edited out of all subsequent Flight Day Highlights broadcasts, and was never mentioned by the narrator.

Many thanks to Jeff for giving us his personal permission to use this picture. We also thank Yorkshire UFO Group for providing us with the information.

PLEASE NOTE: In no way are the ET transmissions connected with the photo.
The audio was heard 2 days before the photo was taken.

The Plot Thickens
Cosmic Conspiracies received this Email from Rob McConnell who runs ' The X Zone Radio Show ' in the States. He contacted NASA to see what they made of the footage. This was a good idea, however as you will read, it also opens up a whole new debate!


I contacted NASA, which seemed to be the "logical" thing to do, and the following is the reply to the questions I posed.

1. ET refers to the acronym for the external tank and the photo documentation the crew takes after the tank is jettisoned and falls away.

2. Plus X is the maneuver the shuttle makes to move away from the tank as it is jettisoned

3. The echo reference to Gus is to Capsule communicator Gus Loria and a reference made to a slight echo in communications during one exchange with the crew.

4. We are unable to discern what you are referring to as a cigar shaped object. If you are inferring that there are UFOs around the Station, you are wrong.

I had also sent the photo with the cigar shaped UFO out for analysis, and guess what... it was a manipulated photo.

That's the end of this so called "mystery"

Here are the responses from Joe Held and Jeff Challender (who released the photo).
Dear Rob,
Here are my thoughts on your letter, followed by Jeff Challenders response posted on my egroups

Are people really this gullable? This guy takes NASA's word as if they were the all knowing gods for christ sake. And they are saying that the STS photo that Jeff posted is manipulated. Yeah it is, he put a damn circle around the ufo so you could see it better.

Jeffs Response:
Something of this nature was only inevitable.  I don't doubt that our "public servants" at NASA have denied everything.  And there will always be those who swallow, hook, line, and sinker, whatever NASA decrees as the "truth".  I can categorically state that I made no alterations to the substance of the still shot from the STS-106 docking operation. I did add the little white circle to the picture, but nothing more. I have the original, unretouched, video tape from which the still was taken, and that tape was captured from NASA's own LIVE feed which comes to me from Sacramento Educational Consortium channel 72, on Sacramento cable television.

The mere accusation of dishonesty does not make it so.  There has been no public hearing, with an unbiased examination of the evidence, and an equal opportunity for both sides to present a case. Only a general statement, with no explanation of how the conclusions were reached. I'm sure that by now, the video tape showing the "cigar" event has gone "missing" from the NASA archives.  So what I recorded on the 10th of September, is most likely the only copy  in private hands. (John Locker has a copy - Ed) It would also seem that I made a mistake in allowing my picture to be associated with the "ET" audio transmission.  I did not expect that it would be juxtaposed with the radio material in the confusing manner that it was.  I had thought it would be presented as a "stand alone" piece, as it is on my web-site.  I am not, and never was involved with the sensationalizing of the shuttle to ground radio conversation.  I have never claimed that the "ET" business was anything more than reference to the 'E'xternal fuel 'T'ank, and have said so repeatedly since this controversy erupted.  I am not, and never was, a part of the editorial staff at Cosmic Conspiracies.

(Cosmic Conspiracies would like to point out in our defence at this point that Jeff was told that we would like to add his picture to our article about the ET transmissions to substantiate that something was witnessed on the latest STS106 Mission when we wrote for his permission to add his photo to this site - We have not linked the ET transmission to the picture. In fact the Audio transmission story was posted at least four days before the picture even surfaced on the internet - Ed)

I find it particularly interesting, in light of this developement, that NASA has announced today that the K-U band equipment aboard Discovery in orbit now, has developed a "malfunction".  There will apparently be no more live television feed from the current mission.  Are NASA punishing the world because of me, and people like me?  I wonder.

Jeff Challender

Well Rob, it doesn't seem that this is the end of the mystery as John Locker points out below.

Thanks Rob....exactly as I explained in the first instance.

re the photo.......not sure about the manipulated aspect..I have the piece on video here..... which I recorded live..the line to the right of the stack is earth glow.

John Locker

Jeff Challender replies...

Earth glow indeed!  Like I have said so many times.  The objects I find are unidentified. I can only tell people what they are not, in my opinion. In the video sequence from whence the still shot came, the Earth is behind the camera.  That's 180 degrees from the field of view. The Sun is to the left.  One thing is for sure.  One must see the entire video to make a competent judgement.


The failure Thursday of the shuttle Discovery's primary television and rendezvous radar antenna will not prevent the crew from safely docking with the international space station today. But the loss will make the final rendezvous sequence slightly more complex while the loss of KU-band TV coverage means the linkup won't be seen live.

Your Comments
We have just received this interesting E-mail from Dr. Richard Boylan Phd.


    An ex-NSA source told me that for a few seconds a UFO could be seen in the corner of the videotransmission of space from the Shuttle currently up in orbit. (By now NASA has surely edited out the image from file tape.) The ETs are running their own version of the Public Acclimation Program to condition the public to ET presence.

                                                                                                                                             Richard Boylan, Ph.D.

Having worked for NASA at the 'Final Testing' level, I can safely inform you that we never called the external tank, "ET." We called it, "The orange popsicle," or "the big waste of money." There was a technical name for it: "The External Tank." It held about 80% liquid nitrogen and about 20% liquid oxygen. Photos were NEVER taken by the Astros while in-flight on assent--because they were too busy being pinned down to their seats via the G-force. There were mounted cameras to do that task. The External Tank usually was detached about 6 to 8 minutes into flight, all right, but they never were designed to fall
into the area mentioned on your site of the Pacific ocean. It was the Indian ocean--all the time. Period.

Do I think that they were talking about a UFO, or 'ET?' Nope. They still call them 'Bogeys,' as far as I know, even though I haven't worked for NASA since 1985, I doubt this has changed much. STS-48 had an audio transmission. Anybody ever hear that one?
Regards to the truth,
Jason Leigh

To add to the comments on your page Dave , concerning the recent mission audio exchange , it should be noted that during the climb out , the shuttle uses UHF for communications between the crew and Mission Control. As you know this type of transmission is "line of sight". Downrange , the UHF circuit is relayed by ground stations . This relay scenario very often causes an echo in the broadcast , and it is to this that the comment refers. About 15-20 minutes into the flight communications are switched to S band ( 2.2ghz) pending the release of the Ku Band antenna (13 ghz) , which is deployed during the second orbit , once the payload bay doors are opened.Communications via both S band and Ku band are relayed via
satellite (TDRSS) to MCC.

*Readers may be interested to know that on high inclination launches , such as those to ISS , the shuttle climbs out over Europe.Consequently it is possible to hear the crew talking to MCC on Their UHF contact frequency. In addition , if the launch takes place to coincide with early evening UK time (dusk) it is posible to see both the orbiter ,and the reddish glow of the external tank , with the naked eye.

Photographing the release of the External Tank (ET) is standard practice.The comment was made around eight minutes into the flight , just before main engine cut off (MECO) following which the tank was released to burn up on re-entry some time later over the Pacific Ocean region. These two sound "bites" go to illustrate just how easy it is for Shuttle communications to be misinterpreted , however I'm sure many will still , sadly , hang on to the belief that "ET" referred to something other than the
external tank.

From a much earlier mission...STS 55 , I have attached an image courtesy NASA ref STS-55 et ! , which shows the tank (ET) as it falls away.

Finally , the next launch is scheduled for this Friday morning , UK time 0138 gmt.This will be the 100th mission and designated STS 92.


John Locker

Couple of comments on both the audio clips from the site.  One of the explanations offered was that ET refers to the "External Tank" and the site wonders why NASA would use something with such a connotation.  ET as a shorthand for extraterrestrial did not become part of popular culture (did not even exist AFAIK) until the release of the film ET in 1982.  The Shuttle and all of its components was designed and built - and of course named - prior to this, culminating in a test flight on 12 Apr 1981.  So it's perfectly natural for NASA to innocently abbreviate it in such a fashion.

Of course why they'd be asked to photograph it is a bit odd.

The second sound clip is "sounds like you're picking up an echo" and the site wonders if this might refer to a radar target.  I think that the language used here is the key.  If this was an operator with a radar screen then the phrase is inevitably going to be "looks like you're picking up an echo"

Steve Hammond

Email us with your comments

Finally we would like to extend our thanks to John Locker for bringing
this important audio transmission to the UFO community

What's that sound...It's saying...Play online black jack tournaments using the black jack trainer at GamblingCity.net to practice black jack strategies and ultilize the best online blackjack tips around!