Published on Jun 2, 2017
American Astronaut Gordon Cooper, in an exclusive interview with Dr Steven Greer.
Leroy Gordon Cooper was one of the nation's first astronauts who once set a space endurance record by traveling more than 3.3 million miles aboard Gemini 5 in 1965. He died on Monday October 4th 2004. He was 77.
"As one of the original seven Mercury astronauts, Gordon Cooper was one of the faces of America's fledgling space program. He truly portrayed the right stuff, and he helped gain the backing and enthusiasm of the American public, so critical for the spirit of exploration," NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe said on the space agency's Web site.
Cooper, an Oklahoma native who entered the Marine Corps after graduating from high school in 1945, later became an elite Air Force test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base in California, where he became fascinated with the space program.
By April 1959, Cooper was named as one of the Project Mercury astronauts, following grueling physical and mental tests each candidate had to endure.
At the news conference naming the future of America's space program, Cooper was joined by Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, M. Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra Jr. and Deke Slayton.
On May 15 and 16, 1963, Cooper piloted the Faith 7 spacecraft on a 22-orbit mission that concluded the operational phase of Project Mercury.
A little more than two years later, he would set a new space endurance record, serving as command pilot of the eight-day, 120-revolution Gemini 5 mission, which began August 21, 1965.
It was on this flight that he and Charles Conrad traveled a distance of 3,312,993 miles in 190 hours and 56 minutes. Cooper also became the first man to make a second orbital flight.
During his two space flights, Cooper logged 225 hours, 15 minutes and 3 seconds. He served as backup command pilot for Gemini 12 and as backup commander for Apollo X.
In addition to his space flights, Cooper logged more than 7,000 hours flying time in jets and commercial aircraft. He retired from the Air Force and NASA in 1970 with the rank of colonel.
In his post-NASA career, Cooper became known as an outspoken believer in UFOs and charged that the government was covering up its knowledge of extraterrestrial activity.
"I believe that these extraterrestrial vehicles and their crews are visiting this planet from other planets, which obviously are a little more technically advanced than we are here on Earth," he told a United Nations panel in 1985.
"I feel that we need to have a top-level, coordinated program to scientifically collect and analyze data from all over the Earth concerning any type of encounter, and to determine how best to interface with these visitors in a friendly fashion."
He added, "For many years I have lived with a secret, in a secrecy imposed on all specialists and astronauts. I can now reveal that every day, in the USA, our radar instruments capture objects of form and composition unknown to us."
"Each administration has probably tried to figure out how, with the least embarrassment, they could confess to this whole thing," he said at a recent appearance in Washington to promote his new book, Leap of Faith: An Astronaut's Journey in the Unknown
"There certainly have been too many people, very qualified people and qualified groups of people, that have had interface of one type or another with extraterrestrial craft or beings," Cooper said. "To really deny that something is going on and deny that they definitely exist…we need a little more explanation."
In his book, written with Bruce Henderson, Cooper tells how he saw his first UFO over Europe in 1951. An Air Force pilot in West Germany, Cooper and his squadron mates were scrambled in their F-86 Sabre jets to intercept what appeared to be several metallic silver and saucer-shaped craft.
Cooper also describes an incident at Edwards Air Force Base, California, in which he once looked at film of a crashed UFO in the American Southwest taken in the late 1950s. That film, he writes, was whisked away to the Pentagon never to be seen or heard of again.
Throughout the book, the former astronaut argues for the government to open up its files and come clean about alien visitations.
So convinced is Cooper that UFOs deserve serious study that he once testified before the United Nations in 1978 on the topic. His hope was that the U.N. would become a central repository for accounts of UFO sightings.