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A still from the NASA footage of the 1996 Tether Experiment

Orbs in Space: An Unconventional Phenomenon, and the Tether Experiment

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The term orb describes those unexpected light manifestations in spherical form which appear in photographs and on film. Authentic orbs have their own flight trajectory and they emit their own light. The phenomenon has attracted the interest of scientists and even that of NASA researchers, especially in the case of the famous Tether Experiment.

Terrestrial ‘orb’ in the dimly-lit woods.

Terrestrial ‘orb’ in the dimly-lit woods. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Across the entire planet an event was broadcast which had taken place at the end of the year 1972. According to the information communicated by NASA:

The three American astronauts on the way to the Moon have announced that on the number two panel of the space shuttle Apollo 17 a light signal has been observed, followed by a sound signal. A few seconds later, they disappeared, without the astronauts being able to discern their nature. The problem was immediately studied on Earth. A NASA delegate declared that it was not for the first time, during the Apollo program, that such signals have been recorded during flights.

So these luminous globes known by the name of orbs also seem to manifest themselves in extraterrestrial environment. Very rarely, they are accompanied by weak sound manifestations.

Moon - Nasa

Before this event, NASA researchers were already aware of the phenomenon and they even had a series of recordings brought in by various astronauts. From these, a series of images have been published such as the luminous orb of M. Scott Carpenter from aboard the space shuttle Aurora 7, the images obtained by James McDivitt on board Gemini 4, and then confirmed by the film made by astronauts James Lovell and Frank Borman aboard Gemini 7 and many others.

Still, after the publication of the images caught on camera by Frank Borman aboard Apollo 8, documents of this type have never been made public, only being accessed by NASA specialists. An interesting film which was made public showed a large group of luminous entities which had come from outer space close to Earth. These entities flew at an altitude of over 500 kilometers (310 miles), but as it was intended for the film to remain at the discretion of specialists, it was quickly ‘forgotten’.

In the year 1996, the astronauts from the Columbia space shuttle were working on the technical mission named “The Tether Experiment”. Aside from the research activities, the astronauts had to launch a satellite connected to a very long metallic cable, or tether, for experimental purposes. The launch was filmed with more cameras from aboard the ship, including an ultraviolet light (UV) camera. As the satellite was launched, some devices began to malfunction.

STS-46 TSS-1 deployment. Satellite and tether. These free-flying satellites are used as observation platforms outside of the Orbiter.

STS-46 TSS-1 deployment. Satellite and tether. These free-flying satellites are used as observation platforms outside of the Orbiter. (NASA/Public Domain)

The 19 kilometer- (12-mile)-long tether snapped and drifted away into space. Nobody had an explanation for the phenomenon—but nobody had suspected any outside interference. Still, upon their return, the surprise came when scientists looked at the UV camera footage.


A still image from the NASA footage showing a so-called orb appearing to float behind the detached tether.

A still image from the NASA footage showing a so-called orb appearing to float behind the detached tether. (Public Domain)

The astronauts had not seen anything strange while on their mission, but the footage showed a totally different story. On film, the distant metal tether is visible as a small line, but a series of intensely radiant and large sized forms are seen moving in various directions around it. They had well defined, round shapes and they all pulsed with a sort of rhythmic energy. The most surprising thing was the fact that the invisible entities were accompanied by some giant forms with apparent dimensions of approximately three kilometers (almost two miles) across. These forms also radiated in the UV light and their outlines displayed a sort of technical symmetry.  The bigger shapes seem to pass behind the tether, revealing their enormous size.

VIDEO: UFO NASA's unexplained tether overload incident

It is believed by some researchers that the cause of the strange phenomena which had taken place around the tether and satellite may have been the unexpected interference of the energy fields generated by the strong radiations of these unknown entities. Still, these strange intelligences apparently never moved too close to Earth in order to avoid affecting it with their radiations. From all of this, one might conclude that these entities are highly intelligent and there is still a lot more to find out about them.

Featured image: A still from the NASA footage of the 1996 Tether Experiment. (NASA/Public Domain)

By Valda Roric


Klaus Heinemann Ph.D., Miceal Ledwith Ph.D. “The Orb Project”. 2007. Published by Atria Books/Beyond Words



I remember using an old pentax K-1000 with a flash. If conditions were right (High Humidity or High Atmospheric Particle Count) it was possible to reproduce the orbs. Yes digital camera's seem to be adept at photographing Orbs. Probably why so many photo's are posted showing them. Another thing all camera's have a problem with is lens flair especially if taking photo's facing the Sun or another light source.

The reason for the tether was not to launch a satellite but to measure the availibility and amount of electrical power a long, long cable could generate. The cable was extremely strong, not strong enough to tow an aircraft carrier, but under normal conditions it would hold together. On it's face it was an interesting and potentially important experiment. The cable began to unreel and large amounts of power were detected, and then the cable broke. NASA spokesmen went into contortions trying to explain how this could happen and finally blamed the reel. So, a bass snaps your line and you blame the reel? The problem was not the reel but something else. This something "else" has remained classified. A very promising experiment has never been repeated.

You would think that the good folks at NASA would have commented on all those "UFOs", but they didn't because all that stuff flying around the tether is satellites & space junk. The distances are illusion as there is no atmosphere. There are literally thousands of things flying around your planet right now - quite terrestrial in origin.

The fact that almost all these objects have the same shape is because of the light that comes from the camera (standpoint) in relation to reflections in the camera lens. This whole orbs phenomenon only started when everybody got videocamera's and videocamera's on their phones.

Actually, not saying I agree or disagree with the idea of these "orbs", space debris does and can not cover all of these cases. Even scientist admit they don't. Actually, the tether case itself is a good example. if it had been debris, it would not all be the same shape. Claiming the lack of a atmosphere means you can tell distance isn't entirely right. Objects will still seem smaller the farther away they are because of how you actually see something....reflected light, nothing to do with a atmosphere. That just doesn't make sense. And when objects are observed changing directions, not the tether case but others, that is impossible in space without a propulsion system of some type.


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Valda Roric

Author of “Loki – The Trickster Unleashed” and “Supernatural in the Land of Count Dracula”, Valda Roric has always been fascinated by the supernatural. Interested in the topic, she has studied many aspects of the enigmatic. Always attempting to find... Read More

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