Black Knight Satellite Conspiracy Theory

Space debris

The Black Knight satellite conspiracy theory claims that there is a spacecraft in near-polar orbit of the Earth that is of extraterrestrial origin, and that NASA is engaged in a cover-up regarding its existence and origin. This conspiracy theory combines several unrelated stories into one narrative.

A 1998 NASA photo is believed by some to show the Black Knight satellite, but NASA has stated that this is likely space debris, specifically a thermal blanket lost during an EVA mission.

According to some UFO conspiracists, the Black Knight is an artificial satellite of extraterrestrial origin which has orbited Earth for approximately 13,000 years; the ‘satellite’ story is most likely a conflation of several disconnected stories about various objects and their interpretations, all of them well documented independently and none using the term ‘Black Knight’ upon their first publication.

According to senior education support officer Martina Redpath of Armagh Planetarium in Northern Ireland: Black Knight is a jumble of completely unrelated stories; reports of unusual science observations, authors promoting fringe ideas, classified spy satellites and people over-interpreting photos. These ingredients have been chopped up, stirred together and stewed on the internet to one rambling and inconsistent dollop of myth.’

The origin of the Black Knight legend is often ‘retrospectively dated’ back to natural extraterrestrial repeating sources supposedly heard during the 1899 radio experiments of Nikola Tesla and long delayed echoes first heard by amateur radio operator Jørgen Hals in Oslo, Norway, in 1928. Brian Dunning of the ‘Skeptoid’ podcast attributes Tesla’s 1899 radio signals to pulsars, which were not identified until 1968.

In 1954, UFO researcher Donald Keyhoe told newspapers that the U.S. Air Force had reported that two satellites orbiting Earth had been detected. At that time, no country had the technology to launch a satellite. Skeptics have noted that Keyhoe had been promoting a UFO book at the time, and the news stories were likely written ‘tongue-in-cheek’ and not intended to be taken seriously.

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