Posted on: January 20, 2015

These days we are rather used to our planet being surrounded by thousands of satellites and space junk constantly orbiting us, but there is one particular object which has been intriguing lovers of mysteries for decades now.  The Black Knight satellite was first detected way back in 1899 by eccentric genius Nikola Tesla, who claimed he had received repeated signals from outer space using a high voltage radio device in Colorado Springs.

Throughout the 1920s and 30s, in the early days of radio pioneering, unexpected sounds were being picked up on radio transmitting devices.  In 1921 Guglielmo Marconi reported picking up regular signals from space which he said seemed to be in a coded sequence, and suggested they might be coming from Mars.  By 1927 American radio engineers posited the theory that they might be coming from closer to Earth, in fact just a few thousands miles from the Earth’s surface.  In 1928 a series of strange echoes, lasting about 3 seconds at a time, were picked up by a radio factory in Holland, and were said to be coming from just beyond the Moon’s orbit.  A more varied series of echoes was heard by King’s College London the following February.

In 1954 prominent Ufologist Donald Keyhoe was reported as saying that the US air-force had found two satellites orbiting the Earth. Now bear in mind that this was before we had actually sent anything up into space.  Three years later, in 1957, Sputnik 1 sighted an unknown object shadowing it.   The object was thought to weigh about 10 tonnes, and was about the size of an oil truck. It seemed to be an object in Polar orbit, and neither Russia nor America possessed the technology at that time to send a satellite into Polar orbit.  The first one was to be launched in 1960.  Polar orbits are used for general Earth observation, such as Earth-mapping.

A few years later, Scottish science-fiction writer and keen astronomer, Duncan Lunan, plotted the 1920s signals and deduced that they came from the Epsilon Bootis star system, adding the sensational news that they came from an artificial probe, possibly 13,000 years old, sent to our Solar System.  He was later to retract these claims saying they were a mistake.

In 1998 the space shuttle Endeavour photographed the object, but sceptics have dismissed the object as space junk, possibly a lost thermal blanket.  You can see the object immediately by Googling ‘Black Knight satellite’.  Personally I find it curiously unconvincing, but the mysterious radio signals from the inter-war years, when the airwaves weren’t clogged as they are now, are much more intriguing.

ADDENDUM: In August 2015 the Daily Express reported that the Black Knight had been sighted near the International Space Station, and had been photographed passing the Moon.  Footage of the mysterious satellite was quickly denounced as a CGI fake by sceptical observers.



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