Monday, January 14, 2019


Hit-or-miss  engenderment of UFO reports from missile/space activity continued around the world for decades but the advent of widespread personal video recorders and the inauguration of new types of missile/space activity together provided the fertile ground for a quantum leap in pseudo-UFO fever a decade ago, and even more precisely, on Dec 9 & 10, 2009.

The spectacular ‘Norway spiral’ on December 9, 2009, the day before President Barack Obama arrived in Oslo to receive his Nobel Peace Prize, was captured on a dozen videocameras [and soon immortalized in more CGI fake versions]. It remains the touchstone of ‘unexplainableness’ in pop culture to this day even though the hard evidence it was a Russian military missile test is incontrovertible – see

The very next day, another spectacular sky spiral – much briefer than the Norway event but just as widely publicized – startled ground witnesses in in southern Russia and adjacent Central Asian nations such as Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. It turned out to be the first of half a dozen evening-twilight test flights of a new defense-evading nuclear warhead, launched from Russia’s old test range of Kapustin Yar on the lower Volga into the Soviet-era anti-missile test range at Sary Shagan in Kazakhstan. The tests [which seem to have ended in 2017] were flown on decommissioned Topol missile flying a unique high-lobbed and then sharply-turned-down trajectory, creating unusual visual phenomena even for ‘space plumes’.

For reference purposes, I dubbed these special flights the  “KYSS-T” series [Kapustin Yar to Sary Shagan -- Topol]. They were tersely announced officially in Moscow but any connection to the UFO panics they later ignited was not discussed. See

While the internet was still ringing with wild speculations about the nature of these two events in late 2009, a third ‘sky spiral’ appeared over southeastern Australia before dawn on June 4, 2010. It turned out to be a post-launch surplus fuel dump from a slowly spinning upper stage of the very first orbital launch of the SpaceX ‘Falcon-9’ space booster. But once again, to the Internet audience of enthusiasts, it was absolutely inexplicable in prosaic terms.

Enthusiasts mobilized to discover more such ‘spiral UFOs’, and quickly found a then-recent case from 2006 over Tomsk, Siberia [a satellite launch]. See

… and soon were treated to a new one on Dec 23, 2011, when in a fairly unique spaceflight accident a satellite rocket’s upper stage exploded halfway into orbit. Its ascent  was observed from an airliner, and the explosion was spotted from the ground [including one dashcam view that caught the moment of the explosion from a street in Novosibirsk that was later found on Google streetview and the exact azimuth to the explosion measured]. Subsequent observers watched as its expanding fuel cloud descended into Earth’s shadow and then, moments later, as the rocket fragments entered the atmosphere and burned up as fireball meteors. One of the pieces hit a house on ‘Cosmonaut Street’ near Tyumen in Siberia. The correlation of the sightings [and the recovered debris] proved its earthborn nature, but on the internet it was still another UFO.  

By 2018 the Russian launches were finally generally recognized for what they were [including one spectacular launch during World Cup final games], although a tour of and still showed many sites promoting that object as an alien visitor to an eager audience. 

1 comment:

  1. To my astonishment, the KYSS-T test program resumed in July 2019.