by Charles Lear, author of “The Flying Saucer Investigators.”
Gordon Cooper, youngest of the original Mercury astronauts, often spoke publicly about his UFO sightings and beliefs. He appeared in documentaries such as James Fox’s 2003 film Out of the Blue, and famously wrote a letter dated November 9, 1978, to Ambassador of Grenada to the United States George Ashley Griffith calling for the scientific collection and analysis of data taken from UFO encounters in order to “determine how best to interface with these visitors in a friendly fashion.” In Out of the Blue, he is heard telling a story about a flying saucer with three retractable legs that was filmed landing in 1957 at Edwards Air Force Base. He didn’t claim to have witnessed the landing himself, but did say he saw the footage. There was an incident involving the filming of a UFO at Edwards that year, and there is a Project Blue Book file on the case. James McDonald found the witnesses and interviewed them in the late 1960’s and wrote a report. Cooper’s name is not mentioned by McDonald and the incident as described by McDonald and in the Blue Book file didn’t involve a landing. Brad Sparks and Jan Aldrich, both heavily involved in UFO research for many years, had an email exchange discussing this, and a record of it can be found at nicap.org.