If an alien race visited this planet in the distant past and decided that the fledgling human civilisation was worth watching as a potential test subject, interstellar partner or just as an anthropological study, it would be logical that they would leave something behind to watch us.  The logical option would be a satellite of some form with a particularly long lived power means that could periodically send back reports.  This scenario is one possible explanation for the Black Knight Satellite – assuming it exists at all.

First reports

The first reports surrounding the Black Knight come from a well-known historical source – Nikola Tesla.  Back in 1899, Tesla was working in his lab in Colorado Springs and was listed to strange rhythmic noises on his radio receiver, research that eventually led to the development of radio astronomy in 1932.

Tesla realised he had come across something remarkable and that this was ‘new knowledge or the revelation of a great truth’.  Having heard the sounds of the sun and other celestial bodies, he was of the opinion that these sounds were due to none of these sources and had a periodical pattern to them.  He later came to think that these sounds could be due to an intelligent control.

In fact, Tesla came to think that he was hearing sounds of an attempt to communicate with Earth by alien beings.  Nor was this the only time that Tesla heard what he believed was intelligent signals from space.  Most of these have now been associated with various planets, comets and stars out in the universe.

Yet there were still unaccountable signals.  In the 1960s, Jocelyn Bell noticed strange data from her telescope in the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory (MRAO).  After ruling out every conceivable explanation, she published a paper in Nature stated that the source of the sound was artificial but could not be determined.

Up in orbit

We all know that there is a lot of junk up in orbit around the planet, space junk or space debris.  Most of it comes from old satellites and debris from space exploration and means that it is very difficult to notice if something appears or disappears from orbit.  It can even make it difficult to track a specific item up there.

Stories began to surface of a strange satellite in orbit that belonged to neither the US or the Soviet Union, the two space-going nations at the time.  In fact, it seemed common knowledge that there was a ‘dark satellite’ orbiting up there that no-one was entirely sure of its origin.

Key dates:

  • 1920s – HAM radio operators report strange signals from space, identical to those uncovered by Tesla
  • 1928 – Norwegian scientists working with short wave transmission picked up Long Delay Echoes or LDEs from space which some believed came from Black Knight
  • 1930s – astronomers continued to report strange radio signals that came from the Black Knight, as the satellite had been named
  • 1940s – the St Louis Dispatch ran a story about the Black Knight, the first mentions in the media
  • May 1954 – San Francisco Examiner also ran a story about the satellite
  • August 1954 – Aviation Week and Space Technology both published stories about the satellite, angering the Pentagon who were trying to keep its existence secret
  • 1957 – unknown object seen shadowing Sputnik I and was thought to be in a polar orbit – neither nation had the technology to do this at this time
  • 1957 – Dr Luis Corralos of the Venezuelan Communications Ministry photographed the satellite while it passed over Caracas while attempting to photograph Sputnik II
  • 1960 – the first solar orbiting satellite was launched, used for mapping the planet as well as for observations
  • 1960 – further observations of the Black Knight led astronomers and scientists to believe it was around 10 tons in weight making it the heaviest artificial satellite in orbit
  • March 1960 – Time Magazine wrote about the Black Knight
  • September 1960 – Grumman Aircraft Corporation took images of the satellite using equipment from their Long Island factory. They formed a committee to study the data but nothing was ever published on their results.
  • 1963 – Gordon Cooper, astronaut on the Mercury 9, reported seeing a growing green object in front of his capsule while in orbit, the same object also being tracked by the radar at Muchea tracking station in Australia
  • 1973 – Scottish author Duncan Lunan analysed the radio echoes received and believed that the satellite was an alien probe that was some 13,000 years old and was orbiting the moon. He also believed it had originated from the double star in the Bootes constellation, Epsilon Bootes
  • 1998 – photograph taken during the STS-88 mission was said to be the Black Knight


If the stories are to be believed, then an alien race either visited the planet some 13,000 years ago or sent the probe to orbit the planet and study us.  Its signals were part of what inspired scientists to study radio signals from space and led to the creation of radio astronomy.  Or perhaps it is a brilliant story, simply a random piece of space junk that doesn’t do anything.  Only time will tell.