Black Knight satellite

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The dark knight rises yet again.
The woo is out there
Icon ufology.svg
Aliens did it...
...and ran away

The Black Knight satellite is a piece of space debris confused for an extraterrestrial UFO with claims attached to it being a 13,000 years old satellite which was known to Nikola Tesla and is currently being covered up by NASA,[note 1] and a whole bunch more. Outside of ufology, this conspiracy theory has gained some attention within QAnon.

Space debris[edit]

It turns out that this supposed satellite was most likely space debris from the STS-88Wikipedia Space Shuttle mission in 1989, specifically a thermal blanket that was lost during the mission when two of the astronauts went outside of the vehicle.[1][2] As the blanket tumbled towards the Earth, it eventually got the shape that the picture in its specific angle shows, aided by the fact that it was irregularly shaped and already crumpled.


The conspiracy theory surrounding this blanket is an absolute indiscernible mess of a bunch of different unrelated stories.

Like any good conspiracy theory, it involved Nikola Tesla. In particular, the sounds he heard during his 1899 experiments with radio signals. He heard strange pulsating waves. While unknown to him, he was probably tuning in to pulsars.[3]

It also includes the anecdote of an astronaut named Gordon Cooper who claimed he saw a UFO during his 1963 15th orbit in Mercury 9. There is no evidence that this happened. NASA's mission transcripts and Cooper's personal copies don't show any such report being made during the orbit.[3] But since an astronaut said it, it must be true!

The age-estimate conspiracy theorists often cite Duncan LunanWikipedia via the popular method of PIDOOMA (Lunan actually said it was 12,600 years old), also using the method to conclude that the satellite had come from Epsilon BoötisWikipedia system. He would later admit that it was made in "outright error":

When Duncan Lunan did his translation of the LDE data in 1973 and came up with the star map, he never had any thought of Black Knight or any other strange polar satellite. In fact his interpretation was that the LDEs were coming from the Earth's L5 Lagrangian point. L4 and L5 are two points along the Moon's orbit, one 60° ahead of it and the other 60° behind, which are stable and where gravimetric effects from the Earth and Moon will hold an object in steady orbit. Moreover, Lunan later acknowledged that his method was not only unscientific but that he'd made outright errors, and retracted it. So despite today's pop-culture story, there never has been any reasonable interpretation of anything connecting Epsilon Boötis to either a mysterious satellite or to a date of 12,600 years ago.[3]


  1. Yet they still host pictures of it here.


  1. Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, The Truth About the Black Knight Satellite Mystery., 18 July 2013.
  2. Phantom satellite? What IS it? What ISN’T it? WHY the confusion?, 21 October 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Black Knight Satellite. Skeptoid Podcast 365, 4 June 2013.