Ex-NASA Worker Says Space
Agency Knows About UFOs
By Michael Lindemann
© 1999 CNINews All Rights Reserved
Note - Thanks to Michael Lindemann for special permission to post this
remarkable story.
In the world of UFO research, whistle-blowers come and go. Often they appear on the scene suddenly, as if out of nowhere, spouting grand claims and grander resumes. Almost as often, such people turn out to be complete frauds and hucksters. But not always. The late Lt. Col. Philip Corso, for example, was exactly who he said he was -- a highly decorated Cold Warrior with close ties to the Eisenhower administration and a demonstrated penchant for championing unpopular positions both inside and outside the military. When Corso said he knew for certain that an alien spacecraft had crashed in New Mexico in 1947, it became necessary to examine his claims seriously -- not because he could prove them true (he could not) but because he was a credible witness.
The Corso example points up a vexing truism about whistle-blowers as well as other UFO claimants. More often than not, the value of the claim must be judged mainly by the inherent credibility of the witness, because no irrefutable evidence is offered. But witness credibility does count -- in a court of law, it can be the difference between an acquittal and a death sentence.
Now comes another whistle-blower, one Clark C. McClelland, who says that for more than three decades he worked at NASA's launch facilities at Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During that time, he says, he saw plenty of evidence that NASA officials and employees were exposed to unexplainable and sometimes quite alarming UFO events. If McClelland is telling the truth, he could become one of the most significant UFO witnesses in recent memory.
The July 1 issue of CNI News carried a story told by Clark McClelland regarding a conversation he claims to have had with famed rocketeer Wernher von Braun. McClelland says that von Braun, like Corso, confirmed that a spacecraft of unknown origin crashed near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. When we ran that story on July 1, we were obliged to note that "our initial efforts to confirm [McClelland's] NASA background have been inconclusive." Needless to say, if McClelland's background did not check out, his UFO claims would be worthless.
As in the case of Col. Corso, we still can't guarantee that McClelland's UFO stories are true -- that would require a talent for mind-reading that we do not possess. But CNI News can now offer assurance that McClelland's NASA background checks out. He is, in our opinion, a credible witness.
Walter Kollosch is retired now but still lives near the Cape where he worked for years as a NASA subcontractor with the Martin Company. Back in the early 1960s, Clark McClelland worked for Martin as well. Clark was a draftsman then, and he worked with Kollosch on the Gemini program. Later Clark moved to the Boeing Company, but he stayed at the Cape, Kollosch recalls.
Kollosch remembers that Clark McClelland was outgoing and well-liked. "Everybody knew him. He even got to know the Mercury astronauts when we were working on Pershing [missile program]. When he was with Boeing, ... he was in with the Apollo astronauts... I don't know of anyone who didn't like him," Kollosch told CNI News.
McClelland says that one reason he has decided to come forward with his UFO information is that he has been somehow black-balled by NASA and has been unable to get work in the aerospace industry since 1992.
"Clark has had some bad luck as far as his employment goes. Clark is very talented. For him to be out of work for so long strikes me as being very suspicious," Kollosch said. But he did not volunteer more detail on McClelland's recent work problems.
Kollosch also knew that McClelland was very serious about UFOs back in the 1960s. They talked about it from time to time, but Kollosch said he wouldn't have wanted to bring it up with others at the launch facility.
There was a lot of secrecy in the space program in those days. The manned space program was, in effect, an integral part of the Cold War. Workers knew they had to toe the line. "In the early '60s, the secrecy aspect was horrendous... Some guys lost their marriage because of it," Kollosch said.
It may have been a problem with a security clearance, in fact, that eventually caused McClelland's falling out with NASA.
By 1990, he worked directly for the space agency in the shuttle program. He was then training to become a Spacecraft Operator (ScO), meaning he would have hands-on responsibility for space shuttle maintenance and ground operations. His trainer was shuttle ScO senior specialist Dennis Bestwick.
"I'm not at liberty to say a lot" about McClelland's dismissal, Bestwick told CNI News. "His work was fine, but something in his security check didn't quite check out. Nothing illegal, but something about the dates didn't match. You need a secret clearance," he said. It could have been as simple as a clerical error in McClelland's records, Bestwick conceded. But whatever it was, McClelland lost his clearance and was subsequently dismissed from the shuttle program.
Bestwick seemed sorry to see McClelland go. "Clark was well liked. He had an outgoing personality. He's a little bit eccentric, but he's knowledgeable about a lot of things. He was willing to learn anything we threw at him," Bestwick said.
Asked if he'd heard any stories of UFO contact during his time at NASA, Bestwick said, "That has been rumored for a long time, but I can't clarify that. The astronauts don't say anything... They're very tight-lipped.
"Myself, I'm not saying I do or don't believe in it, but having some science background... there's got to be other creatures out there. And we can't be the smartest creatures in the universe," Bestwick added.
But for McClelland, there was no doubt that UFO events were occurring around the launch facility. Starting in the early 1960s, he kept records and filed reports as head of the Cape Canaveral (later Cape Kennedy) Subcommittee of NICAP, the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, then the nation's best known and most influential civilian UFO research organization.
One person who was privy to McClelland's UFO reports from the Cape was Richard Hall, then acting director of NICAP. More recently, Hall was Chairman of the Fund for UFO Research and is also the author of several respected books on UFOs. Hall is known for his dim view of many self-styled UFO researchers, but he gives Clark McClelland a big thumbs-up.
"I've known this guy for a lot of years and I've dealt with him extensively," Hall told CNI News. "And I've never had the slightest clue of anything other than an honest, conscientious, forthright person. So I endorse him strongly. He should be given the fairest audience and listened to carefully. I think he's going to check out. He's not a fantasizer, not an embellisher. He's laid back and conservative and careful, and I respect that highly."
Halls says that McClelland sent a number of impressive case reports to NICAP founder Major Donald Keyhoe and himself. Some of those cases remain secret even today. "I'm still keeping secrets that will probably go to the grave with me -- things that people have told me privately -- because that's the way I feel about it, unless they give me the green light," Hall explained. But he gave one example of a case that McClelland sent in.
It occurred in 1961. "A rocket was launched and radar was tracking it. And a UFO came in and the radar locked on to the UFO. You can put this out under my name now, if you wish," Hall said. "His [McClelland's] subcommittee sent to us a report by Pan American airways, which was then the operating subcontractor at the Cape. And they had a quarter-inch thick technical report on this UFO tracking, radar lock-on.... In order to protect them [Pan Am and the witnesses], we were very vague about it." Hall says he made a brief reference to this case in his book, "The UFO Evidence." But the full report has never been published.
Clark McClelland says he has now decided to publish what he knows about NASA's history of encounters with UFOs. Samples of McClelland's information can be found at his new website,
At the request of CNI News, McClelland offered the following exclusive report of one significant UFO encounter:
By Clark C. McClelland c. 1999 All Rights Reserved
On April 9, 1964, the Gemini-Titan I was launched from complex 19 at the Cape Canaveral USAF Missile Test Range in Florida. It was unmanned yet drew a lot of attention by "other intelligence's". Who or what were they? Your guess is as good as any.
I was a young Designer working for the Titan II Launch Operations Team in Hangar "U". I was assigned to work with a bright engineer called Chuck. We had a problem happening with the first stage of the Titan and called it "POGO". Several previous test flights were flown and the effect showed up at lift off. It acted like a POGO stick (up and down motion) as the vehicle rose into the sky. NASA and the USAF determined the effect to be dangerous for any of the astronauts chosen to fly in the Gemini capsule. The booster would not meet Man Rated restrictions by NASA and the USAF.
Chuck and I were to attach measurements to the booster and determine how or what could be done to stop the POGO effect. Several modifications had been made and this flight would prove if we were approaching the correction of the difficulty. The capsule had a "canned man" -- which is sometimes called a "black box" -- inside the astronaut compartment to help solve the problem by collecting data.
The rocket lifted off and began to return data which indicated that the modifications Chuck and I had designed had reduced the POGO effect significantly. Everyone was delighted to receive the preliminary information.
As the Gemini Capsule entered orbit, the RCA world tracking team began to realize that "our" capsule was not alone as viewed through their incoming telemetry, visual theodolite and other high powered optical data. Our capsule had four "visitors". The RCA team was ordered to run a recheck of the situation to be certain ghost images were not the cause. The Titan II stages were also excluded as causing the images.
NASA, the USAF and Martin-Marietta [then Martin Company? - ed.] who built the Titan II were all puzzled and just about scratching their heads in unison. After much huddling and discussion the intelligent determination was that we had other physical objects up there with our Gemini capsule. Total silence filled the launch control area. A few whispers were heard but nothing else.
Then a brash young member of the team said the words that caused faces to turn to horror. I said, "What about UFOs?" It was as if I had taken the Lord's name in vain. The silence deepened as almost everyone present was staring at me. I felt like a child caught with his/her hand in the cookie jar. Cold stares came at me from the NASA Brass and USAF Officers. Actually, the only obvious answer was what I had so blatantly stated -- they were UFOs! I slipped back into my assignments and remained a very interested and quiet observer.
Several hours after the objects departed their single orbit rendezvous with the Gemini capsule, a strange shadowy group of personnel arrived on scene. They were not faces of those who had worked at Cape Canaveral for any length of time. Cape workers like myself knew a stranger when one showed up in our work area. Who they were, no one seemed to know -- or if they did know, did not identify them. I made an attempt to I.D. them and ran into a brick wall of silence. One thing was for certain, this group was at the Cape for no other reason than the Gemini Titan mission and its guests.
A week or so later, I was talking to an old friend called Vince. He was a Pan American Security guard at the Cape and got around to all launch complex areas. Vince told me that he transported several men to the Cape Canaveral Skid Strip (aircraft runway) at the time all the Gemini activity had taken place. He heard a younger man call another older person Colonel. Vince had a good pair of eyes when he wore his glasses and told me they had top secret security clearance badges he had only seen once before. The badges appeared to have letters and a number on them. He observed them from across the car roof as they entered his security cruiser and did not observe the badges close up. They wore no uniforms yet acted as if they were military. They spoke of returning to Washington, DC. Vince also noted that they wore matching lapel pins that may have been similar to those worn by secret service officers during the several visits by President Kennedy and Eisenhower in past years.
To make a long story short, NASA, USAF, Pentagon, White House, NSA etc., all determined that it had to be eventually explained as normal activity. The hungry dogs of the mass media who ate broken glass and razor blades to sharpen their questions were awaiting the NASA news conference eagerly willing to slash away. The official NASA determination was that the objects were the torn particles or remains of the Titan upper stage that apparently entered orbit with the Gemini capsule.
I was at the news conference and I nearly began to laugh. How could a broken stage overtake the capsule and stop slightly ahead of the capsule to accompany it an entire orbit around the earth? But I held my laugh to save my job. A NASA Public Information Officer held his breath hoping my mouth would stay shut. It did, and I remained in my job to record other astounding events that will be in my book.
[NOTE: See "Interfering with Atlas -- UFO Disables ICBM" at McClelland's website for another incident that also happened in 1964.]
CNI News is a twice-monthly electronic news journal addressing UFO phenomena, claims of human-alien contact, space exploration and related issues, including the cultural and political impacts of contact with other intelligent life. CNI News is edited by Michael Lindemann and distributed by the 2020 Group.
CNI News is a subscription news journal. First-time recipients may receive two free issues before subscribing. For more information on how to subscribe, please see the notice at the end of this issue. Questions and comments may be addressed to