Youngest of seven astronauts in Project Mercury, the first U.S. space program, witnessed UFOs on multiple occasions.
Gordon Cooper, born on March 6, 1927, in Shawnee, Oklahoma, was an American astronaut, test pilot, and aeronautical engineer, who passed away on October 4, 2004. He was one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts and contributed significantly to human space exploration. Cooper earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering and began his career as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force before being selected by NASA in 1959.
Cooper made history in 1963 when he piloted the Faith 7 spacecraft on the Mercury-Atlas 9 mission, becoming the first American to spend over a day in space. He completed 22 Earth orbits during the 34-hour mission, demonstrating the viability of extended human spaceflight. In 1965, Cooper participated in the Gemini 5 mission alongside astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad, proving astronauts could endure space long enough for a round trip to the Moon.
Retiring from NASA and the Air Force in 1970 as a Colonel, Cooper pursued various business ventures in the aerospace and automotive industries. Throughout his career, he received numerous accolades, including the Collier Trophy, the Harmon Trophy, and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. Inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990, Gordon Cooper's legacy as a pioneering astronaut and test pilot continues to inspire generations.
Cooper openly discussed his UFO encounters and convictions. In 1951, when stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, he reported that he and multiple other pilots witnessed a group of unidentified, swift, and agile aircraft unlike any known planes of that era. In 1957, Cooper experienced another incident at Edwards Air Force Base, where a film crew captured a UFO landing on the dry lakebed. The footage was allegedly sent to Washington, D.C., but Cooper never received any updates, further contributing to the enigma surrounding the event.