One of the best UFO story's that involved NASA was the Skylab 3 incident on September 20, 1973 (day 263, revolution 1863 of their spaceflight) at approximately 1635 to 1645 GMT.

The Astronauts on board the space station orbiting the Earth witnessed and photographed a Red colored flashing unidentified object that was unlike anything they had ever seen before. they took four different photographs of this strange object while it followed them into the darkness of the Earth's shadow.

On the 59th day of flight Skylab III's three-man crew saw and photographed a strange red object.

Not more than 30-50 nautical miles from them, Alan Bean, Owen Garriott and Jack Lousman reported the object was brighter than any of the planets.

This incident has never been explained.

The 1973 Sky Lab Incident-UFO Casebook Files

skylab 3 ufo





astronauts Alan Bean, Owen Garriott and Jack Lousma spotted what they described as a red "satellite", which they photographed and mentioned during a subsequent debriefing:
Skylab UFO Analysis | TDG - Science, Magick, Myth and History
The 1973 Sky Lab Incident-UFO Casebook Files

Radio conversation with Houston four hours after the sighting...

LOUSMA: "Did you tell him about that satellite we saw?

BEAN: Yes, we saw a great satellite. We didn't know if we told you about it.
LOUSMA: The closest and brightest one we've seen.
BEAN: Huge one.
LOUSMA: We've seen several. It was a red one.
CAPCOM: No, you may have told somebody, but it wasn't this team. I don't remember hearing about it.
LOUSMA: I guess we didn't report it. It was reflecting in red light and oscillating at, oh, counting it's period of brightest to dimmest, about ten seconds. It led us into sunset. That was about three revs ago, I think. Something like that, wasn't it Owen?

(NOTE): Astronaut Owen does NOT respond to this question, and the topic of conversation abruptly changes.

“Skylab III Technical Crew Debriefing” (NASA doc JSC-08478)

GARRIOTT: Do you want to talk about that satellite?
LOUSMA: I saw a couple of satellites that appeared like a satellite would on earth. I saw one that was not like one you would see on earth, so why don't you mention it?
GARRIOTT: OK. About a week or 10 days before recovery and we were still waiting for information to be supplied to us about the identification. Jack first notices this rather large red star out the wardroom window. Upon close examination, it was much brighter than Jupiter or any of the other planets. It had a reddish hue to it, even though it was well above the horizon. The light from the Sun was not passing close to the Earth's limb at the time. We observed it for about 10 minutes prior to sunset. It was slowly rotating because it had a variation in brightness with a 10-seconds period. As I was saying, we observed it for about 10 minutes, until we went into darkness, and it also followed us into darkness about 5-seconds later. From the 5 to 10 second delay in it's disappearance we surmised that it was not more than 30 to 50 nautical miles [35 to 58 statute miles or 56 to 93 km] from our location. From its original position in the wardroom window, it did not move more than 10 or 20 degrees over the 10 minutes or so that we watched it. Its orbit was very close to that of our own. We never saw it on any earlier or succeeding orbits and we'd be quite interested in having its identification established.”

page 49 of the “SkyLab III Photographic Index and Scene Identification” document identifies this object as being a “Satellite - unmanned”.

Pdf file

Garriott said later that the object did not lead the Skylab into sunset, but rather followed the Skylab into sunset.

whereas previously it was assumed that the object maintained a roughly fixed, large distance during the time of the first three photos and then it suddenly made an "un-satellite-like" rapid motion toward the Skylab

based on the available information, these authors conclude that there was no man-made satellite that could explain this sighting and hence the object was truly anomalous. Further data are being sought.

report from Bruce Maccabee and Brad Sparks



Astronaut Bio: Owen K. Garriott


Astronaut Bio: Jack Robert Lousma


Astronaut Bio: Alan Bean


important Quote

LOUSMA: I saw a couple of satellites that appeared like a satellite would on earth.

I saw one that was not like one you would see on earth

This case still remains unexplained
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thanks ricklbert, very interesting ufo story especially since Astronauts are considered to be the most qualified observers. Garriott was the mission scientist and he could not identify this object. NASA listed the object as a satellite, but with no identification. satellites don't have to be man made, it just is something in an orbit around our planet. there have been other story's of objects orbiting this planet.

In Disneyland of the Gods, John Keel writes of the Black Knight satellite. Never mind the almanac. You won't find it listed with Sputnik or Explorer. Black Knight is the name given to a radar blip discovered in 1960. This mystery satellite was found in a polar orbit, something neither the US nor the Soviets had accomplished. It was several times larger and several times heavier than anything capable of being launched with 1960 rockets. It shouldn't have been there, but it was.

Excluded Middle - Black Knight From Space by Paul Rydeen
Ancient Satellite Orbiting Earth