Clark C. McClelland
former ScO, Space Shuttle
Kennedy Space Center, Florida
of eyewitness account.
Artist credit of eyewitness account: R. Schmidt
Prior to the fateful launch of the space
shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986, I had the honor and pleasure
of sharing conversations with several members of that crew.
During one of many pre-mission preps for the Challenger mission, I
came upon Lt. Col. Ellison Onizuka in the Vehicle Assembly
Building (VAB) at launch complex 39. I had an assignment
to assess some problems at the Launch Control Center (LCC)
and needed to access the main drawing files. A file operator was
there and I went to her for assistance.
Ellison walked in on our
conversation and we exchanged greetings. Jokingly, I asked him if he
had important business with her, and he said "yes, Clark" with a big
smile. I told her to help Lt. Colonel Ellison first, and I
would wait. She opened a plastic bag that had a packet of goodies
for this very important customer. Ellison "loved" those
chocolate-peanut butter brownies that she baked for him when he was
at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on training assignments.
Many astronauts at the KSC knew of my interest in the study of
possible Extraterrestrial (ET) intelligence,
and my association with Major Donald Keyhoe, Dick Hall
and the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena
since 1958), and the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON),
at Cape Canaveral and KSC.
Another evening while off-site, I once again accidentally came upon
Ellison. He asked if I could give him an opinion regarding a topic
that was sparking his curiosity. Ellison had a great interest in ET
life and asked me my belief concerning aliens, and if I believed
they have been here on earth? His question caught me by surprise.
As we walked slowly towards our destinations, I briefly explained
what I had learned since 1947, the initial year I entered my UFO
research. I briefly related what I knew regarding
the Roswell case and that I had
become more aware of it many years later at the Cape through several
discussions with ABMA (Army Ballistic Missile Agency)
personnel who were at White Sands Proving Grounds near Roswell, New
Mexico in July, 1947. These men had worked directly with Dr.
Wernher von Braun and his team of German Scientists who were at
that base at that time. Onizuka said he was aware of that case.
I then told him my belief that life does exist among the stars and
that it has visited earth throughout human history. He smiled in
agreement. I thought to myself, what else does he know? Soon it
became very clear.
Onizuka asked me if my surname had any connection with
McClellan Air Force Base in California? I said not as far as I was
aware. I asked him why? Ellison said he had a surprising experience
along with other USAF aerospace flight engineers and pilots while on
military training duty at McClellan AFB, about eight or nine years
prior to his astronaut training.
He and this group were at this base for specialized training when
they were directed to report to a viewing room. As they were seated,
the room darkened and a movie began without the usual official
introduction by a USAF officer.
They were all startled when a view of a facility similar to a
medical examination room appeared on the screen and small bodies
were observed lying on slabs. He heard several excited comments by
the other officers seated near him. The small, strange looking
creatures were humanoid in shape, and appeared similar to those
described by alleged witnesses at the well-known Roswell site in the
Southwest USA in 1947. They all had large heads, large eyes, slight
torsos, arms, and legs. They did not appear to be of earthly origin.
Ellison then said,
"Clark, my God, these highly trained
officers and I were shocked by what we saw. We were not made
privy to what we would see until it happened. We were all caught
off guard. Perhaps it was a test of our psyche to determine our
overall reaction. Well, we were all caught by surprise".
Needless to say, I was also caught off
guard hearing this revelation from a highly intelligent USAF
officer and NASA astronaut.
One who flew his initial space
mission 51-C in the space shuttle Discovery a highly classified U.S.
Department of Defense (DoD) mission under top secret
conditions. It made me wonder what else Ellison knew, or
perhaps had seen, during his first shuttle mission and USAF career?
"thatís amazing, Ellison! Were all
of you given any opportunity to question what you saw?"
"No! We were then asked to exit the
room and continued our scheduled technical activities as if
nothing special had occurred. In my opinion, I have considered
the possibility that the group was evaluated for individual
reactions to what they saw. Perhaps it was a planned USAF
psychological test for military reasons. Who knows, NASA
may have evaluated it in my selection as an astronaut in 1978.
You know, what would my reaction be if I actually saw an alien
We arrived at our separate building
destinations and briefly discussed his approaching second space
mission in Challenger 51-L. He said he was anticipating a successful
flight with Judy Resnik, Christa McAuliffe, and crew.
I asked if we could discuss this topic again; and he agreed.
Unknown to us both, this would be the last time we would speak. He,
Judy, Christa and the other crew members would be making their
final mission on January 28, 1986. I was at the Kennedy Space
Center and watched in disbelief as they and
space shuttle Challenger fell into the
Upon leaving KSC for the night after being on duty for about 15
hours, I was driving home to my Port St. John Apartment when the
disaster finally caught up with my emotions. I pulled to the side of
the main NASA causeway crossing the Indian River and sobbed
my eyes out for about ten minutes. God, how horrible it was, and
still is to this day, in my memory.
God bless you Judy Resnik, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Dick
Scobee, Michael Smith, Gregory Jarvis and Ronald McNair. Thank you
God for the honor of knowing all of them.
And, please, if you would... make sure
Ellison gets those chocolate-peanut butter brownies up there in