Saturday, 14 July 2018

Towers Toppled at Historic Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 17

The service towers at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 17 in Florida are seen being toppled on July 12, 2018.

By Robert Pearlman
The last two launch towers to stand at Cape Canaveral since the dawn of the Space Age are no more.

The twin mobile gantries at Launch Complex 17 (LC-17) were imploded Thursday morning (July 12), toppling the oldest remaining launch pad structures at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The United States Air Force's 45th Space Wing oversaw the demolition, which leveled the landmark towers just after 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT).

"3... 2... 1... Fire in the hole!" announced Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, commander of the 45th Space Wing, before pushing a button to initiate a series of detonations. Seconds later, the towers fell over, kicking up a cloud of dust in their wake. [NASA's 10 Greatest Science Missions]
"It is part of history, which we are doing every single day out here on the range," said Monteith, per a video recorded by Florida Today, the local area's newspaper.
The 62-year-old mobile service towers supported 325 missile and rocket launches, including those of some of the United States' most notable satellites and robotic spacecraft.
The gantries, which were part of a two-pad complex sharing a single blockhouse, were originally erected in 1956 for the U.S. Air Force's Thor Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) research and development program. Pad 17B hosted its first Thor missile test in January 1957. Pad 17A entered service eight months later.
The twin launch pads at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's LC-17 as seen prior to a Delta II rocket launch in 1997.

The United States' first attempts at sending living organisms — mice — into space lifted off from LC-17 on upgraded Thor-Able launch vehicles in 1958. That same year, the complex supported the country's first attempts at sending probes to orbit the moon.
The first satellite to transmit pictures of Earth from orbit, Explorer 6, was launched on a Thor-Able rocket from Pad 17A in August 1959.
In the early 1960s, the complex underwent its first of several modifications in order to support larger launch vehicles.
The first weather satellite (TIROS-1) and the first passive communications satellite (ECHO-1) both launched from Pad 17A in 1960. The first active communications satellite, Telstar-1, which provided the first live trans-Atlantic television broadcast, lifted off on a Thor-Delta rocket from Pad 17B in 1962.
Syncom 2 and 3, the world's first geosynchronous and geostationary satellites, respectively, were launched on Delta rockets from Pad 17A in 1963 and 1964.
From 1965, Complex 17 continued to support Delta launches under control by NASA. With the introduction of the Delta II expendable launch system in 1988, LC-17 was returned to Air Force supervision.
The Delta II opened a new chapter in space history for the towers at Complex 17, as they were raised even higher to support the taller rocket.
Beginning with its maiden flight from Pad 17A, the Delta II was used to launch 48 GPS (global positioning system) satellites. For NASA, the Delta II became a chariot into the solar system, with LC-17 serving as the opening to that pathway.
The space agency's first Mars rovers, Pathfinder and the twins Spirit and Opportunity, lifted off on Delta II rockets from Complex 17, as did the Mars Phoenix lander and the orbiters 2001 Mars Odyssey and Mars Global Surveyor.
NASA's Dawn and NEAR asteroid missions launched from 17B. Deep Impact, which slammed a probe into a comet's nucleus in 2005, began from the same site.
The Spitzer Space Telescope and Kepler space observatory both launched from Pad 17B. The first spacecraft to enter orbit around planet Mercury, MESSENGER, left Earth from 17B as well.
Ultimately, the decision to retire the Delta II meant an end for the gantry towers at Complex 17. (The last Delta II launch is scheduled to take place from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in September.)
The last launch from Launch Complex 17A was a GPS satellite atop a Delta II in August 2009. The final launch from 17B came two years later in September 2011 with NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL lunar probes.
Now, with the six-decade-old towers removed, Complex 17 will continue on as a test bed for commercial lunar landers. Cape Canaveral-based Moon Express has leased the site to build and test its moon-bound robotic spacecraft.
"This is about innovation as this launch complex is repurposed from Delta to Moon Express," said Monteith.

The 2017 Canadian UFO Survey (PDF Link)

A full list of 2017 UFO sightings can be found here.

UFOs: The Greatest Story Never Told

By Cheryl Costa

People ask me all the time why the government won’t come clean about UFOs and perhaps the ET presence. After all, based on a 2012 National Geographic poll, 80 percent of Americans think the government is not being square with the American people.
After the Dec. 16, 2017, New York Times and Politico revelation that the Pentagon had a formal program for monitoring UFOs with regard to military bases and fleet operations, the story took the news media by storm. There was a major news cycle about the Pentagon effort, the congressional folks who got them the money and the videos that were released.
A lot of UFO disclosure activists hailed Dec. 16 as the starting point for a new era of openness and expected an information avalanche about all things UFO. It just didn’t happen.
I’m still waiting for the offices of New York’s U.S. senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, to answer my correspondence. It has been more than a year.
But the real problem with UFO and ET disclosure in America is with the Fourth Estate, a.k.a. the Media.
The talking heads on some of America’s most popular daytime programs and news talk networks were unprepared for that Dec. 16 story. They seemed to be at a loss to discuss the topic intelligently, as they stumbled for words to express their thoughts. Most of them were barely grasping the context and implications.
Most defaulted to “Little Green Talk.” When asked their opinion whether there was alien life, more than a dozen news hosts either said “no” or simply took the safe ground with comments like, “Oh, I suspect there is bacterial life out there somewhere.” Nobody on any of these programs wanted to be the newsperson who believes in little green men.
But there is another very painful and telling reality: News producers and their on-camera broadcasters really didn’t want to talk about the UFO subject beyond the immediate story about the Pentagon’s Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program (AATIP).
On May 30, The Washington Post published a story with the headline: “UFOs are suddenly a serious news story. You can thank the guy from Blink-182 for that.”
A week or so later on June 5 my New York Skies blog featured the headline, “Close encounters with UFOs are getting harder to find. In that article, I pointed out that after crunching 2016 and 2017 sightings data, UFO sightings are falling off for some unexplained reason.
On June 6, Fox News picked up on the article and gave it an even broader readership. I was encouraged that perhaps some regional media outlets would be as open-minded.
After crunching the new 2016 and 2017 sighting numbers, I decided to see if UFOs were a hot news story at the local level. In the new data, New York state had moved from the sixth position to fourth in the United States for UFO sighting reports. Now that’s newsworthy. I have also cleaned up the data to the point that I can drill down to any state and county to reveal the local municipalities within that county.
So who knew that Buffalo and Erie County both ranked No. 3 within New York state? Erie County was also in the Top 100 counties for UFO sightings of more than 3,000 counties in the United States. I pitched this newsworthy story to Buffalo’s ABC affiliate WKBW, as well as the NBC affiliate WGRZ and their Fox outlet WUTV. I was met with silence.
Rochester turned out to be the No. 4 city in New York state and Monroe County ranked No. 5. Monroe also ranked nationally in the Top 100 counties. I pitched the idea to the news director at ABC affiliate WHAM; he snickered and said he’d present it to his editorial team. Silence. I reached out to WUHF and presented a similar pitch. Silence.
A UFO research colleague gave me a contact at Albany’s Fox affiliate, where I reached out to that newsroom. Silence. Albany is the No. 7 city in New York, while Albany County ranks No. 13.
I pitched to Binghamton’s CBS affiliate WBNG. Silence. I spoke to a newsroom person at Fox affiliate WICZ and made my pitch about the standings of Binghamton (ranked No. 9) and Broome County (16). I was asked to email them the facts of the pitch. Silence.
At one television station, I took a different approach. I called the marketing and sales department and explained the significant demographics related to audience interest, especially with Sweeps Week coming up. I suggested that a locally flavored UFO story would be excellent for the ratings. The nice marketing lady was interested and had their news team call me. When I gave them the same pitch, I was greeted with silence.
I had a better reception with Syracuse’s regional ABC affiliate WSYR and with the news team at Charter Communications on Spectrum Cable. Syracuse is No. 5 in the state and Onondaga County is No. 8 in the state for sightings as well as in the top 200 of more than 3,000 national counties.
So, if you are not hearing about UFOs from your local television or radio news team, it’s because they either all bought into the notion that UFOs are the topic matter of kooks and crackpots. The other consideration is stigma: None of them wants to do a story where they might be labeled as “that UFO news director or news reporter.”
Nevertheless, two-thirds of Americans (220 million) think the government is not being honest with its citizens with regard to UFOs and the ET presence.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Montreal leading the way in UFO sightings

By James Foster

If there really is life beyond Planet Earth, a new report suggests they may have a hankering for some poutine.

The annual Canadian UFO Survey released by UFOlogy Research of Manitoba shows there were 1,101 people who claim to have seen unusual lights and shapes in Canada's skies in 2017.

"UFOs still seem to be thing. They haven't gone away. And they don't seem to be declining in any numbers," science writer Chris Rutkowski told

Nearly half of the sightings last year were right here in La Belle Province, with 518 sightings (up from 430 in 2016). Ontario was second with 241.

Overall the research center said there are about three UFO sightings in Canada each day. 

While the majority of unexplained happenings in the night sky come from rural areas, Montreal was Canada's UFO big city capital, with 74 reported sightings, Torontonians not wanting to be outdone reported 57 bizarre lights and objects flying overhead.

"It's not just an average person seeing a light in the sky. It's someone with a good background of observing the sky … who sees something a bit more structured," Rutkowski said.

"None of these cases are proof that aliens are visiting us," Rutkowski said. "What it does say, what our report overall says is that people continue to see UFOs in significant numbers and Canadians are certainly reporting them in very significant numbers."

In the 29 years since the UFO report began, the centre has catalogued 19,138 UFO reports in Canada.

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Manitoba−based Ufology Research has released its most recent UFO sightings survey and analysis. Eight per cent of the 1,101 reported eye−witness accounts across Canada in 2017 could not be explained. Here are some other findings from the survey:
Sightings reported in 1989 (first year of survey): 154
Sightings reported in 2017: 1,101
Highest number of sightings: 2015 with 1,267
Top three provinces for sightings: Quebec (518), Ontario (241) and British Columbia (128)
Cities with most UFO sightings: Montreal (74), Toronto (57), Vancouver (46), Edmonton (29), Hamilton (28), Ottawa (26), Calgary (24), Winnipeg (9)
Average number of witnesses per sighting: 2
Typical length of sightings: 15 minutes
Shape of sightings: Boomerang, cigar, cone, cylinder, diamond, disc, fireball, irregular, line, oval, point source, rectangle, round, sphere, square, triangle
Source: Ufology Research
Sylvia Strojek, The Canadian Press

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

World UFO Day: Arizona's top 5 UFO sightings

By News 4 Tucson Staff
5. The Rhodes Photos, July 7, 1947
A man named William Rhodes saw a disk circling above him in Phoenix. He took two photographs which are one of the first and best UFO pictures ever taken.
"That was the first Air Force investigation and it happened right here in Arizona," said Alejandro Rojas, who hosts Open Minds UFO Radio.
One day later, on July 8, the Roswell incident happened. Coincidence?
4. The Dreamy Draw UFO Crash October of 1947
Months after the Roswell Crash, witnesses reported seeing a 36-foot spacecraft crash near what is now the Dreamy Draw Dam.
The conspiracy theory is that the government built the 455-foot-long Dreamy Draw Dam in order to hide the wreckage.
"Really I think it's more of an urban legend that's been mixed up," said Rojas.
3. Marana Air Base Sighting April of 1952
Air Force instructors reported seeing a bright polished metallic object in the sky over the base. Pilots took off to get a better look but it quickly vanished. It was investigated by the Air Force in Project Blue Book.
2. The Travis Walton abduction
On November 5, 1975, while working with a logging crew in northern Arizona, Walton noticed a bright object in the distance. When he approached it, he says, he was hit by a light and his body lifted into the air. His colleagues left the scene and Walton was missing for five days before reappearing.
"Travis' case really makes me scratch my head. I've gotten to know him very well. He's a very credible person," said Rojas.
1. The Phoenix Lights
One of the largest mass UFO sightings in the world happened here in Phoenix on March 13, 1997. Glowing orbs in the shape of a V hovered over Arizona silently moving south.
Most recently, commercial airline pilots reported seeing a bright object thousands of feet above them while flying over southeastern Arizona.

City of Buckhannon recognizes World UFO Day

By: Katie Kuba
Mayor touts local author who sparked Men in Black franchise
BUCKHANNON — From the roof of the historic Colonial Theatre’s newly restored marquee Monday, city officials celebrated all things extraterrestrial.
Mayor David McCauley declared Monday Gray Barker World UFO Day in honor of the late Barker, perhaps one of the country’s most famous UFOlogists and a prolific author who penned the book, “They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers,” which, in turn, is said to have spawned the “Men in Black” movies.
Born in Braxton County and educated at Glenville State College, Barker migrated to Buckhannon in the 1970s and owned the Colonial Theatre from 1973-1980. A UFOlogist is a person who studies reports of unidentified flying objects and sometimes, other paranormal phenomena.
While the city dedicated a placard to Barker installed on the outside of the Colonial Theatre more than a year ago on the anniversary of what would have been Barker’s 92nd birthday, Monday was also World UFO Day and the 71st anniversary of the Roswell, New Mexico incident, according to the World UFO website, which says the day is “dedicated to the existence of unidentified flying objects.”
On July 2, 1947, an unidentified object which government officials later said was simply a conventional weather balloon, crashed in the desert near Roswell, New Mexico in a region now referred to as Area 51. 
“Our purpose in celebrating today is simply to exploit the connection to one of our celebrated, former own, Gray Barker, to the science fiction and UFO lore he spent a lifetime writing about,” McCauley said. “Undeniably, Gray Barker was one of the most colorful characters to ever walk our streets.” The World UFO Day website suggests people should celebrate the occasion by watching movies featuring UFOs and talking to friends about the possibility of the existence of UFOs and alien life.
Decades ago, one Upshur County resident, Neil Roth, watched movies at the theatre when Barker was its owner. Roth was on hand at Monday’s brief event to share a few memories he had of Barker, who he grew to respect as a stellar storyteller.
A self-described “audio buff,” Roth met Barker when, after being awed by the audio quality in the theatre, he asked to speak to the owner. Barker was more than happy to strike up a conversation with Roth, even showing him the projectors and other equipment in the theatre.
The next time Roth came to the Colonial to enjoy a movie, he completely missed it because he was so engaged in conversation with Barker, who let him sneak into the later showing. 
“He was fascinating to speak with and he told me, ‘any time you want to come back and talk to me, just tell the girl out front that you want to talk to Gray,’” Roth recalled. “So I did. We would sit, and he would tell me folklore – that’s what I was interested in. He was telling me, he was an author, he was president of this and that, and the UFO Club. Inside, I was kind of going inside, ‘why are you in Buckhannon running a theatre?’
“I just loved his stories. He could sell a pocket watch to blind man,” Roth added with a laugh. “He was very good at storytelling. He was a great fellow to know, and I really enjoyed all the times and the stories we told together.”
In fact, Roth first learned about the Mothman – a large winged creature supposedly spotted in Point Pleasant, W.Va. in 1966 and 1967 – from Barker. Barker authored “The Silver Bridge,” in 1970, prior to the release of John Keel’s 1975 book, “The Mothman Prophecies.” “The Silver Bridge” linked the Mothman to the collapse of the Point Pleasant-area bridge. See www.worldufoday for more information on the July 2, 1947 incident.