Several astronauts claimed to have seen UFOs in space. Since Yuri Gagarin went into space, not every astronaut has had a normal spaceflight experience. Some have seen phenomena that are far beyond the experience of people on planet Earth.
On May 5, 1981, retired Russian cosmonaut Vladimir Kovalyonok saw something remarkable from the porthole of the Salyut 6 object that was flying along with the spacecraft. From the front view, it looked like it would rotate in the direction of flight.
“The object resembles a bar. I saw it turning transparent and looking like a ‘body’ inside. At the other end I saw something like gas discharging, like a reactive object. Then something happened that is very difficult for me to describe from a physics point of view,” Kovalyonok said.
He added: “I have to admit that it didn’t have an artificial origin. It wasn’t artificial because an artificial object couldn’t achieve that shape. I don’t know of anything that can make this movement… tighten, then expand, pulsate.
Then as I watched something happened, two explosions. One explosion and 0.5 seconds later, the second part exploded. I called my colleague Viktor [Savinykh] but he didn’t arrive in time to see anything.”
He explained: “The object moved in a suborbital path, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to see it. There were two clouds, like smoke, that formed a bar. It came close to me and I watched.”
They subsequently entered darkness (terminator or twilight zone) for some time after the incident. When they left the zone, the two spheres never came back.
Kovalyonok described a soft conical shape with the inner tube that suddenly appeared like two connected globes. The two globes then separated with a line connecting them, then the first and then the other disappeared.
American space journalist Jim Oberg tried to resolve the Kovalyonok encounter, but nothing was added. He speculated that the phenomenon Kovalyonok witnessed could be produced during secret missile tests and distant rocket launches. Below about 100 km, rockets leave trails much like the vapor trails of aircraft. But once they are above an altitude of 100 km, their exhaust plumes spread out into the vacuum of space.
According to him, “they are translucent, shiny, constantly change shape and disappear completely within minutes”.
Unfortunately, no rocket or missile tests were recorded that day. Although Kovalyonok believed it was an artificial terrestrial object, the mystery is still unsolved.
Cosmonaut Victor Afanasyev sighting
Another bizarre claim was made by cosmonaut Victor Afanasyev. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Afanasyev dared to tell his story. In April 1979, he took off from Star City to dock with the Soviet space station Salyut 6. But on the way, something strange happened. He saw an unidentified object that turned towards his ship and began to follow it through space.
“It followed us for half of our orbit. We watched her from the light side, and when we entered the dark side, she completely disappeared. It was an engineering structure, made of some kind of metal, approximately 40 meters long with internal hulls. The object was narrow here and wider here, and inside there were openings. Some places had projections like little wings. The object got very close to us. We photographed him and our photos showed he was 23 to 28 meters away.”
Victor Afanasyev drew a sketch of a UFO he saw in April 1979 while orbiting Earth on Salyut 6.
In addition, Afanasyev said he photographed the craft and continually reported to Mission Control about its size, shape and position. When the cosmonaut returned to Earth, he was interrogated and ordered never to speak to anyone about it. His cameras were confiscated. These photos and their voice broadcasts from space were never released.