NASA Mission STS 115: When U̳F̳O̳ Delayed Space Shuttle Landing on Earth by 24 Hours

During the space shuttle Atlantis mission STS-115, many unidentified flying objects were sighted and filmed, some of which appeared to be controlled simultaneously. The landing planned for September 20, 2006 was also delayed by NASA by 24 hours due to bad weather and an unidentified rectangular flying object, which flew below the shuttle at the same speed for hours.

On September 19, 2006, as crew members of Atlantis were preparing to return home, they informed the Mission Control Center that, after testing the reaction control system, an object was seen moving in a co-orbital path with Orbiter . Astronauts located the object using an onboard TV camera, but unfortunately the resolution of the images was not high enough to identify the object.

A 2006 story by Tariq Malik of Space.com shows the seriousness of the incident and the seriousness with which NASA and astronauts addressed the situation.

“The question is, ‘What is this?'” NASA Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale said at the time, adding that the object – which looked small and dark against the blue Earth in the video – could be something as simple as ice, ceramic cloth. -filler, or a harmless piece of plastic wedge known to hang from Atlantis’ heat shield. “Is it something benign like this that we’ve seen before, or is it something more critical that we should pay attention to?”

Image above: In the portrait of the crew of STS-115, astronauts Brent W. Jett Jr. (right) and Christopher J. Ferguson, commander and pilot, respectively, flank the mission insignia. The mission specialists are, from left to right, astronauts Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper, Joseph R. (Joe) Tanner, Daniel C. Burbank and Steven G. MacLean, who represents the Canadian Space Agency. image credit: NASA

NASA Spaceflight wrote about the mystery object the same day the space.com article was released stating, “Shuttle Atlantis’ return home has been delayed one day until Thursday morning due to inclement weather at the Space Center. Kennedy and ongoing analysis by NASA/Tiger Team managers to verify what an unidentified falling object (U̳F̳O̳) might be after it was seen close to the orbiter.”

“We spent the day talking about the plan for tomorrow,” Hale said. “We have not yet had a definitive characterization of that apparently very small object (we observed) in the video. We have no further information, other than that it was a dark color.”

“It appears to be falling, and it also appears to be rectangular in shape, but we don’t have the scale to reference with this photograph – so there’s still a bit of a mystery there.”

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