"Black, reflective, larger than several football fields" - Texan Sees UFO, or Soviet Satellite?, in 1986
A sighting of an extremely large, black object slowly moving over Austin has just been reported to MUFON (case 124784). The sighting occurred all the way back in 1986, so apparently the witness was not able to forget about it:
Black, reflective, larger than several football fields....
The witness claims that the Austin Statesman referred to the event as "Russian space debris burning up," which they were suspicious about.
I couldn't find this exact wording in old newspapers, but I did find a series of articles from August 1986, which described a "Soviet satellite," called Cosmos 1767, crashing back to Earth, specifically into the Indian Ocean:
According to reports, the details about this satellite were largely unknown, and so it's unclear what it looked like.
According to NASA, Cosmos 1767 Cosmos "was a Soviet ELINT (Electronic and Signals Intelligence) satellite launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome aboard a Zenit 2 rocket," which was "based on the first generation Tselina ELINT," which you can see pictures of below.
What is odd is there is also an article detailing the satellite crash from February 1986; the problem with that is Cosmos 1767 allegedly didn't launch until July 30th, 1986. So, it seems like there is more to the story...
At the time, the Austin American Statesman reached out to Jim Oberg, a former NASA engineer, and acclaimed space journalist and author, for comment; Oberg said the Cosmos 1767 appeared to be the "fifth in a series of unusual launches."
Just a few years after all of this, in 1988, another Soviet satellite, this time called Cosmos 1900, and this time radioactive, would also be predicted to fall back to the earth, though it's unclear if it ever did.
Is it possible this UFO witness in Texas in the summer of 1986 saw a secretive Soviet satellite? Or was this just a convenient cover story for something far stranger?
Let me know, as always, what you think of this story in the comments.
Did you also live in Austin in the 80s? Did you witness the Cosmos 1767 satellite crash, or something else strange in the sky, during the summer of 1986? Report your sighting, and help us solve this mystery!
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