Jonathan Frakes (JF): Let's say you don't believe this planet is being visited by aliens and UFOs. You may be changing your mind in the next several minutes.
We have an exclusive interview with a true American hero. A man who knows aircraft and space craft. A man who has risked his life in America's space program. A man who knows UFOs are very real. His name... Gordon Cooper.
He was one of the pioneers. One of the original 7 NASA astronauts. Together they wrote a new chapter in the history of Mankind: the first exploration of space. His illustrious career as an aviator spanned decades, and during that time Col. Gordon Cooper saw it all.
He was an Air Force Lieutenant and jet pilot at the age of 22. After obtaining an aeronautical engineering degree, he became a test pilot, and then came the call from NASA to join America's Space Program
On May 15th, 1963, Gordon Cooper launched into space while the whole world watched -- in person at Cape Canaveral, Florida; on television sets around the US and Europe; and over radios virtually everywhere else. The world held its breath... The launch and mission were overwhelming successes. Cooper, our last astronaut to go into space alone, set the record for the longest flight by an American. After the flight, President John Kennedy spoke to Cooper and gave this news conference:
Kennedy (newsreel): "We're proud of Maj. Cooper... and we're proud of all those thousands of Americans who worked with him to make this flight possible."
JF: Gordon Cooper returned to Earth a hero, and a national symbol of American achievement and courage. Clearly, he had "the Right Stuff."
But there is another side to Cooper's lifetime in aviation. One that for years he would only discuss with close friends, until now. It involved his personal encounters with UFOs.
For him it began in 1951 while flying in Europe for the U.S. Air Force. There Cooper, and other pilots, witnessed an incident that has never been officially explained. A vast armada of UFOs flying in formation at extremely high altitudes.
Recently, Yolanda Gaskins spoke with Gordon Cooper. In this exclusive interview, Colonel Cooper spoke for the first time on television about his encounters with UFOs.
Yolanda Gaskins (YG): I've read about this incident you had in 1951, and you said you saw literally hundreds of unidentifiable flying objects.
Gordon Cooper (GC): Yes they were flying quite high, how high we couldn't tell because we couldn't get anywhere near their altitude, but they were either very large craft way up, or smaller craft still above well above what we could get to.
YG: For a day and a half all of this happened... but then no one wanted to talk about it?
GC: Well, we sent a report forward on it, and the answer that finally came back months later was they were probably high flying seed pods, which didn't sound very logical.
YG: There are always a lot of excuses, there's always... um... the weather balloons, I've heard that one before... and...
GC: Weather balloons frequently, by the way, are often mistaken for UFOs, I'd say. This one time I was in an airplane... boy it really looked like a big saucer very high, and I had an after-burner going and got as high as I could get in this airplane... as I started pulling up along close to it I had a very shame-faced look on my face when I realized it was a big weather balloon with the radio package hanging under it.
YG: But still, the point is you could get close to that. In 1951 you couldn't even get close to the things that were flying overhead. You or anyone else that was flying...
GC: They were flying faster, higher.
JF: Six years later, Cooper encountered a UFO. This one definitely was not a weather balloon. While supervising flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base, his military camera crew actually filmed an unidentified saucer shaped object landing near the sight.
GC: As they were sitting there filming, a little saucer came from -- I say a little saucer, it was *a* saucer -- came flying over their heads, put down three little landing gear and landed right out on the dry lake bed. Then they picked up their cameras and started over toward it, filming as they went, and when they got in fairly close to it, it lifted up, put the gear back in the wheel-wells, tipped up and took off at a great rate of speed. And so they brought, came into my office and told me what had happened and I sent them over to develop the film, and then had to go through all the proper regulations of reporting this, and we wound up having to send the film forward to Washington in the base jet airplane, and uh, I don't know whether anyone's ever seen it since.
YG: Now the vehicle that you just described, how similar was it to the very first sighting you had back in 1951?
GC: Quite similar. It was about basically the same plan form vehicle. They were a double saucer, lenticular. If you're going to go in and out of atmospheres like Earth or other places might have, you certainly need a little more aerodynamic type of vehicle, and the saucer has the capability of going through the air at tremendous rates of speed and handling the bow and trailing wave without making a shock wave. So it can be very silent while traveling big rates of speed through the atmosphere.
JF: But sightings of UFOs weren't limited to the military. Cooper has commercial airline colleagues who've also seen UFOs.
GC: This friend of mine is a captain on a major airline... At night [he] was flying along and noticed this... suddenly a big glow came off his left wing. He looked out and this big saucer [was] sitting right off their wing, and so he turned slightly towards it, it moved away... turned back and it moved back in position. And [he] turned to his co-pilot and said "Do you see what I see?" And he said, "Oh God, yeah I do." And it traveled along with them for quite a period of time, [then] tipped up, flying very steeply away.
JF: For many years, rumors have circulated about astronauts sightings of UFOs in space. Cooper believes most of them are false, with one exception.
GC: To my knowledge, the only thing that was ever seen, on any of our space flights, and believe me all of us would like to have seen something, was on Jim McDivitts' Gemini 7 mission, where they saw this glint of something metallic off in the distance, and he reported it and nobody had it listed on the ground. So he tried getting a picture of it, but sun unfortunately was glinting off of it so bright all he got was just glint, there was no detail on what it was, but never any further sighting at all on it.
[Don Nellesen notes: That should be Gemini 4, the first space walk mission of McDivitt/White. Either that or it wasn't McDivitt.]
JF: Years later, Cooper approached the United Nations with a proposal for a committee that would explore the UFO phenomenon.
YG: Alright now, tell me about the letter to the UN.
GC: Well, the letter to the UN was in conjunction with a meeting I had with Kurt Waldheim and the Security Council of the UN, to try to encourage the UN to establish a committee to start comparing notes and data and information and to really look into all of this from an unbiased, neutral point of view.
YG: Here's a quote from your letter: "I believe that these extraterrestrial vehicles and their crews are visiting this planet from other planets and are obviously a little more advanced than we are here on Earth." And now you're saying that's exactly why governments have been trying to keep this information private, because of that obvious advancement?
GC: Very possibly, right.
JF: Maybe someone's listening. This year, NASA announced PROJECT ORIGINS. Its goal? To search for inhabitable planets orbiting nearby stars.
GC: I think we'll see our government having a totally different approach relating to the UFO situation, or extraterrestrial, or whatever you want to call it. I think the pressure that comes to bear on the government, from whatever reason they withhold information, is certainly getting more and more and more, so I would like to think that they're going to really release all the information.
YG: Did you ever think that we were the only ones that, in this vastness of space... did you ever think that there was a possibility that we were the only planet that had some kind of life on it?
GC: No, I've always felt that there're a lot of planets that had life... With all of those numbers of potentially habitable planets out there, I think we're kind of vain to think that God would habitate only one of them.
Jonathan Frakes: I hate to editorialize, but c'mon! It's pretty clear that various government agencies have information and evidence of alien contact they refuse to release. Hey! Just release it! We're grownups! We promise not to panic, and we have a right to know. Besides, one of the side benefits of ending a conspiracy is... it'll shut up all those conspiracy nuts.
[end of segment]
Original file name: CNI - Cooper on PB 5.9
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