I am posting the following file that I received from James Oberg, a well-known writer on the space program. He is discussing the same videotaped footage from NASA's STS-48 mission that has been endlessly showen as a supposed "UFO." Richard Hoagland, a major promoter of the "Face On Mars," claims that NASA cameras accidentally caught a secret "star wars test". Here is Oberg's rebuttal.
James Oberg, Rt 2 Box 350, Dickinson, TX 77539
Re: Did STS-48 view a "Star Wars" test?
The STS-48 mission was the 43rd shuttle launch, the 13th flight of OV-103 Discovery, with the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS). The crew was John Creighton, Ken Reightler, Jim Buchli, Mark Brown, and Sam Gemar. It was launched from KSC Pad A at 2311GMT Sep 12, 1991 (twilight),landed at EAFB on Sep 18, 0738GMT (night), duration 5d08h27m. The orbit was inclined 57 degrees to the equator at an altitude of about 570 km, second only to the 616 km altitude of the Hubble deploy mission a year and a half earlier. Due to radar experiments with the deployed UARS satellite, I was present in the control room for two planning shifts (my job was as "Guidance and Procedures Officer" for actions related to orbital rendezvous, such as the planned checkout of the radar which had shown performance anomalies on several earlier missions).
I have reviewed the videotape by Richard Hoagland alleging that the notorious STS-48 videotape shows a "Star Wars" weapons test against a target drone with astounding propulsion. In my judgment, the facts, analysis, and conclusions presented by Mr. Hoagland are entirely wrong.
Is the object really very far away? Hoagland's argument depends on proving that the object is at or beyond the physical horizon, "1713 miles away". Proving this depends on optical analysis of the image and of its motion. All of Hoagland's analysis is invalid.
First, Hoagland alleges that the videotape shows the object suddenly appearing at the edge of the Earth, as if it had popped up from behind the horizon. But a more cautious viewing of the tape shows this is not accurate.
The object does NOT rise from "behind the horizon". It appears (arguably, it becomes sunlit) at a point below the physical horizon, just slightly below, to be sure, but measurably below the edge of the Earth (the "limb").
It has been suggested (Dipietro) that the object's sudden appearance is due to sunrise. This is plausible. I suggest a variation on this, that the object became visible when it moved up out of the shuttle's shadow just after sunrise. Since the video was taken near sunrise, the shuttle's shadow was pointing back nearly parallel to Earth's horizon, and the ground was still dark (bright ground reflection later lights up debris even if they are in the shuttle's sun shadow). This would require that it be close to the shuttle. The proximity to the horizon line would be coincidental.
continued in part (2)
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