Monday, January 14, 2019


Although spectacular videos have proliferated in recent years as personal pocketcams and automobile dashcams became more widely available, the basic rocket plume apparition has been reported since the dawn of the Space Age in 1957. Because of its novelty and rarity, each apparition  was generally mischaracterized as a UFO event and as such entered that literary genre.

This report presents two dozen examples from the 1960s to the present…

Such sightings have occurred all over the world, but they are not randomly distributed. Both specific launch site locations, and particular geographic features, have created regional ‘hot spots’.  Just as one example, it happens that most Japanese space probes launched from their rocket sites in practically any direction will tend to criss-cross a region east of northern Argentina.

But it’s Russia, the nation that opened the Space Age, that has harvested the most abundant crop of space activity sightings.  Because of purely geographic considerations, people in Russia saw their country’s missile/rocket activity more frequently than in other countries where rockets were usually fired out over open ocean [with few witnesses] for safety reasons.

In addition, Moscow developed and tested one particular kind of rocket that used its last stage to dive back into the atmosphere carrying a dummy nuclear weapon, and the rocket plumes from that extraordinary flight profile were widely observed – and misinterpreted – all across southern Russia in in 1967-8 and became one of the greatest classic ‘UFO flaps’ in world history.


By 1977, twenty years into the ‘Space Age’, rocket launchings from a secret base north of Moscow had become almost ‘standard’ as instigators of famous UFO events.

‘Petrozavodsk Jellyfish’ [Kosmos-955 satellite  from Plesetsk], Sep 1977

In 1984, a Soviet sub-launched missile [from the White Sea] was seen from civilian airliners and from Finland [Sep 7, 1984]

In the same period, another geographic coincidence placed Soviet satellite boosters performing an orbit-raising burn halfway around the world from their launch site, which happened to be west of the southern Andes Mountains of South America – and under particular solar illumination conditions, these sparked one of the biggest ‘UFO flaps’ in Latin American history.

Such routine Russian launches were often observed by airline pilots, who could interpreted the apparition as  incorrectly as anyone else [and sometimes more, as will be explained later]. On January 28, 1994, the Progress-TM21 supply drone launch to a Russian space station was seen over Kazakhstan and described by respected UFO researcher Richard Hall [in his book  ‘The UFO Evidence”] as a “luminous UFO maneuvered erratically near airliner” [ cited], when the object actually flew a straight course hundreds of kilometers away from the pilot. The actual rocket event is described here:

In those years, other space plume events were being observed and correctly interpreted by amateur astronomers, as described here: July 2002 [ASTRONOMY magazine] – ‘Close encounters’ with satellites

And here :  1988, ‘Sky & Telescope”

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