The voice of Samantha Cristoforetti, European Space Agency Astronaut and Italy’s first woman in space, exudes thrill and shock as she saw something during the docking operation of Soyuz spacecraft where she was onboard and the International Space Station (ISS). In the video documenting the docking, there is a small white dot that floated for several minutes before her voice reflects her amazement, articulating sounds that many consider to indicate the sight of a UFO. Italian news agencies have been asking her: “Did you see a UFO?”
Cristoforetti is a Captain in the Italian Air Force where she accomplished the duties of a pilot and engineer before being picked up as astronaut and becoming Italy’s first woman in space. Currently, she is aboard ISS, participating in a long duration mission.
After Soyuz capsule took off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in the early morning of November 24, 2014 carrying Cristoforetti, Russian Anton Shkaplerov, and NASA’s Terry Virts, it docked with ISS. The video of the docking operation was posted on YouTube by ESA. A little after a minute in the video, a tiny and fragile white dot is seen crossing the screen, but makes no strange movement.
Later, at the four and a half minute mark, Cristoforetti’s voice is heard with sounds of shock and amazement. Shkaplerov is also on the audio saying “tiho, tiho, tiho” which is Russion for “calm, calm, calm.”
However, in her daily log on Google+, Cristoforetti explains her reaction. The log reads:
“I had released my shoulder straps quite a bit at that point, so I was floating over my seat. As I turned to look outside, at first I looked back and saw one of our Soyuz solar panels, which I had seen before of course. Then my eyes caught something in the peripheral view. And as I slowly turned my gaze and when I realized what I was seeing, I was overcome by pure amazement and joy: the Space Station was there, but not just any view. The huge solar panels were flooded in a blaze of orange light, vivid, warm almost alien. I couldn’t help exclaiming something aloud, which you can probably hear in the recordings of our docking, since at that point we were “hot mic” with Mission Control. Anton reminded me of that and so I tried to contain my amazement and return to the docking monitoring. When I peaked again later, the orange glow was gone.
“Butch told me later that he had heard my amazement on com when “the Station had turned orange.” I didn’t know, but apparently there’s only a few seconds during day-night transition that the Station is lit by that amazing orange glow. And it happened to be exactly when I peaked outside! I feel very fortunate that I had such a unique first glimpse of our human outpost in space: such a great welcome!”
Clearly, her reaction had nothing to do with seeing alien technology, but simply the amazement of extraterrestrial experience.
Italian astronaut Michael Massimino explains in an OpenMinds.tv interview the experience of being in space: “You are prepared to do your job, but you are not prepared for the view around you. You know, what you see around you is just so magnificent it just kind of blows your mind, and the view of the earth is just incredible.”