Many myths originated by combining unrelated tales and this method continues today. One example is the Black Knight Satellite, said to be a 13,000-year-old alien spacecraft that perpetually orbits Earth and teases us with glimpses of its existence every decade or so.
This tale has been cobbled from various reports of satellites, signals, and UFOs. Most of these reported activities are attributable to human actions or astronomical phenomenon so there’s no reason to assert the existence of nearby ancient alien technology.
In fact, science is fascinating enough without trying to to weave science fiction into it. For instance, we can gaze in awe at Nikola Tesla’s contributions to Mankind without riding his ample coattails and making him the retroactive starting point for Black Knight Satellite contact.
But that’s what some people have done with Tesla’s 1899 report that he had detected signals from space. He thought these might be of alien origin, but scientists later realized he had picked up electromagnetic radiation from a pulsar. These are magnetized, rotating neuron stars that, again, are amazing enough on their own that there’s no need to try and finagle an alien technology angle. But Black Knight Satellite believers identify Tesla’s discovery as the starting point. From there, a series of unrelated events have been assembled piecemeal to form a hodgepodge timeline.
The next event in this fabricated history was in the 1920s when Norwegian scientists detected Long Delay Echoes from a still-unknown source. Possible explanations include reflections from astronomical bodies, ionized gas clouds, and reflections from Earth’s ionosphere. It could also be an alien satellite, but its existence is not supported by the evidence that distinguish the other possibilities.
Next, newspapers in 1954 reported that two satellites were found to be orbiting Earth in those pre-Sputnik days. This was later shown to be a spoof peddled by a UFO hunter who was promoting his new book, but this revelation hasn’t dissuaded Black Knight Satellite enthusiasts from counting it among their pieces of evidence.
In 1960, the U.S. Navy detected an object that was initially thought by Washington to belong to neither superpower, which were the only nations who had the ability to project spacecraft into orbit. But it turned out to be a capsule casing from the previous year’s Discoverer VII launch. This switch in the “official” story is supposed to be proof of a cover-up, but why the Black Knight Satellite would need to be hidden or why the second story wouldn’t have been prepped and ready to announce if this were a conspiracy is left unexplained.
In 1963, astronaut Gordon Cooper was said to have reported a UFO while aboard Mercury 9. Cooper denied this and provided transcripts from the mission to show he had been misquoted.
Ten years later, researcher Duncan Lunan analyzed Norwegian scientists’ data and deduced that it revealed a chart pointing toward a double star in the Boötes constellation. He decided the signals constituted an invitation from the inhabitants of a planet near the constellation, an invitation that took 12,600 years to reach its recipients. Lunan later acknowledged that his conclusions were unscientific and error-laden, but his work gave the satellite the age that is associated with it.
The final piece of the disparate puzzle came in 1998, when the space shuttle Endeavor made its maiden voyage to the International Space Station. Astronauts photographed a strange object that was likely a thermal blanket lost on a spacewalk, but which was interpreted by believers to be the first photographic proof of the Black Knight Satellite. Astronaut Jerry Ross told reporters that he and others were trying to wrap thermal blankets around four trunnion pins on the ISS node when one got detached from its tether and floated away.
If it was instead the Black Knight Satellite, it was remarkable serendipity that it happened to come along at the same orbit, altitude, and time that the ISS was whirring by. The fact that the object sauntered away after six minutes is consistent with what an object the size and weight of a thermal blanket would do.
That wasn’t enough for YouTube commentator Mercenaries512, who insisted that image-conscious NASA would never release a video of its mistake. So while conspiracy theorists accuse NASA of cover-ups, they also consider the lack of cover-up to be proof.
Then there is the online commentator who called all this a fulfillment of Nostradamus’ vision that “Mankind will discover objects in space sent to us by the watchers.”
The ISS is an excellent example of international cooperation and serves as a long-term laboratory to conduct studies on biology, physics, astronomy, medicine, and meteorology, with capabilities that exceed that of traditional manned spacecraft. But to some it is merely another square on a quilt woven together with overactive imagination, self-importance, and paranoia.