October 15, 2013
Ghostly UFO Cloud Traced Back To Russian Missile Launch
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
A photo of a spooky space cloud, taken by Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, has led many to claim it and other photos snapped of the event as a UFO sighting, but some knew about the phenomenon even before it started.
Parmitano tweeted a picture he took from the International Space Station (ISS) of a cloud, seen as if it was emerging from the edge of Earth and space. He wasn't the only one who witnessed the "space cloud."
A video posted on YouTube shows a comet-like structure in the sky that seems almost suspended in the air, but quickly disintegrates, as if a UFO had vanished into thin air. While the video and photo seem like they could be convincing evidence of extraterrestrial life visiting our planet, writer Jim Oberg warned of the event before it even took place, letting everyone know Russia was testing a missile.
Russia test fired a Topol ICBM from the Kapustin Yar site on October 10, Col Igor Yegorov, the Ministry of Defense spokesman for the Strategic Missile Troops, told Interfax-AVN. Oberg said that if the weather was clear, "we might expect some spectacular videos to show up on YouTube and RuTube. Keep an eye out for them."
The weather played out perfectly for UFO reports to emerge, and even for Parmitano and other astronauts aboard the space station to see the show for themselves. Luca released another picture of the trail the missile left, saying "a missile launch seen from space: an unexpected surprise!"
Yegorov said the missile's test warhead hit the notional target at the Sary-Shagan test site in Kazakhstan within the set accuracy. He said the launch was carried out as part of the tests of a new warhead.
Russian officials took data of the test using radar and optical bandwidths to help evaluate the effectiveness of the method of overriding missile defenses.
"During the test, test data was gathered on the parameters of the target environment shaped by the warheads of future ballistic missiles in the process of the missile defenses being overridden. Subsequently, these results will be used in developing effective systems to override missile defenses and equipping new missile systems with them," Yegorov told Interfax.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins was not aware of the missile launch at the time, so he was a little bewildered by the event.
"Saw something launch into space today. Not sure what it was but the cloud it left behind was pretty amazing," Hopkins wrote on his Twitter feed.