Black Knight Satellite Conspiracy Theory

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A NASA photo that is claimed to be of a piece of orbiting space junk is thought by conspiracy theorists to be a 13,000 year old alien satellite. Dubbed “The Black Knight Satellite” by theorists, its electrical noise was allegedly first heard in the 1899 radio experiments of Nikola Tesla. Is the Black Knight an extraterrestrial satellite or just a piece of NASA space junk?

Black Knight Satellite
1998 NASA photo claimed to be an extraterrestrial satellite known as the “Black Knight” | Image Credit: By NASA – NASA Photo ID: STS088-724-66, Public Domain, Link

The Black Knight Satellite Evidence From Conspiracy Theorists

While much material exists regarding the Black Knight Satellite, few articles online contain adequate references. We do however, know many of the facts behind the Black Knight narrative are true.

Unexplained Radio Signals

Nikola Tesla really did pick up repeating radio signals in 1899. He thought those signals came from space. Even today, we are pretty sure what he picked up came from space. Tesla himself said publicly that he’d picked up extraterrestrial radio signals from space. So let’s put a check mark next to that one.

Amateur HAM radio enthusiasts picked up the same signal as Nikola Tesla in the 1920’s. Scientists in Norway picked up similar signals in 1928. Both of these are also true.



The Thing That Should Not Be

In 1954, newspapers reported that the US Air Force was tracking two satellites in orbit around Earth. Oddly enough, no nation had the capability at this time. The Soviet Union launched the first man-made satellite in 1957. Consequently for conspiracy theorists, this was pure gold. If there were satellites in orbit before humans were capable, clearly they must have been alien in origin. Right?

The tracking of alien satellites seemed to be the smoking gun, and the Black Knight Satellite was born. Since there were unexplained events leading up to the story of The Black Knight, it’s this particular instance which defines it.

NASA Black Knight Satellite Cover Up

In 1998, astronauts on board space shuttle Endeavor flight STS-88 took photographs of a strange object. The photos were initially posted on NASA’s website, but were soon removed. NASA re-posted them with new URLs and descriptions of them as space junk and debris. The photos however, were clearly some type of craft. Was this a NASA cover up? And why?

Image of the Black Knight Satellite | Image Credit: NASA
Image of the Black Knight Satellite | Image Credit: NASA

The Black Knight Satellite Explanations – The Reality Check

If you’ve read any of my articles before, it won’t surprise you that I’m pretty skeptical. A 13,000 year old alien satellite orbiting the Earth is an awesome story, and I’d love for it to be true. Unfortunately, there are explanations for the events that led to the birth of the Black Knight Satellite.

Nikola Tesla’s Unexplained Radio Signals

Nikola Tesla detected rhythmic radio signals in 1899 and believed they came from space. We’re pretty sure he was correct. We’re also pretty sure that what the signals came from pulsars in deep space. Pulsars weren’t discovered until 68 years later in 1967. Since pulsars were unknown during Tesla’s time, he explained them as best he could.

False Newspaper Articles

In 1954, newspapers actually did report about 2 satellites in orbit. The Black Knight Satellite story got its life from these articles. As it turns out, those newspaper articles were also fake. The articles were a publicity stunt by a man trying to sell a UFO book. Even the Air Force Officer that was cited was just a guy who’d seen a UFO once.



The Black Knight Satellite Mystery… Not So Much

From completely made up fiction to misidentified space junk almost every aspect of the Black Knight can be explained. And while some events are still a mystery, they all have plausible explanations that fit the bill. As it turns out, even the mysteries don’t require a 13,000 year old alien satellite as an explanation.

What about the Endeavor’s STS-88 flight where all those amazing photos were taken? Well those are real photos. A thermal blanket had been lost during one of the astronauts’ EVAs, the crew photographed it numerous times as it floated away. The thermal blanket was black on one side, silver on the other, and crumpled into a weird shape.

The Endgame for The Black Knight

The legend of the Black Knight Satellite owes itself to a string of unrelated events. Misidentified objects, outright fabrications, and legitimate scientific discoveries before their time all played a role. What keeps it going today is a combination of conspiracy prone amateurs and self-proclaimed Internet experts who believe they’re better qualified to identify space images than the scientists and astronauts who made it their life’s work to do so. While the conspiracy theorists continuously regurgitate the same bad information within their circles, the world of science leaves them in the darkness created by The Black Knight Satellite.


References

Dunning, B. “The Black Knight Satellite” Skeptoid Media, 4 Jun 2013.

Redpath, M. “The Truth About the Black Knight Satellite Mystery” Astronotes – Armagh Observatory and Planetarium’s Stellar Blog! July 18, 2013

 

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