Friday, January 15, 2010

Project Moon Dust

Hi readers

In reading the FOIA documents on the various CIA/DIA/NSA websites, you sometimes come across a reference to "Project Moon Dust." I thought I'd take some time to see what I could track down on this Project for my own curiosity.

The June 1986 (number 8) issue of the "JUST CAUSE" Newsletter (click here) contained an item on Project Moon Dust. The article referred to work undertaken by researcher Robert Todd, who in 1979 received a document released by the USAF. The document was identified as AFCIN-1E-0, and dated 3 November 1961.

Although the document had deletions, the following could be made out:

* "...in addition to their staff duty assignment, intelligence team personnel have peacetime duty functions in support of such Air Force projects as Moondust, Bluefly and UFO..."

* "Blue Fly has been established to facilitate expeditious delivery to FTD of Moon Dust or other items of great technical intelligence interest. AFCIN SOP for Blue Fly operations, February 1960, provides for 1127th participation."

* "As a specilized aspect of its over all material exploitation program, Headquarters USAF has established Project Moon Dust to locate, recover and deliver descended foreign space vehicles. ICGL # 4, 25 April 1961, delineates collection responsibilities."

* "Peacetime employment of AFCIN intelligence team capability is provided for in UFO investigation (AFR 200-2) and in support of Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) Foreign Technology Division (FTD) Project Moon Dust and Blue Fly...These three peacetime projects all involve a potential for employment of qualified field intelligence personnel on a quick reaction basis to recover or perform field exploitation of unidentified flying objects, or known Soviet/bloc aerospace vehicles..."

I located a website (click here) which had the text of the 25 April 1961 document - titled US Air Force Intelligence Guidance Collection Letter 4.

Its subject was Moon Dust reporting in "...response to Moon Dust alerts."

* Headquarters USAF initiates Moon Dust alerts-based on anticipated foreign satellite re-entries

* Interested personnel collect information on sightings of such re-entries. The document lists the kind of information which should be collected and forward and included the position of the observer, what was seen falling to earth etc

* Reports, citing "...the unclassified nickname Moon Dust should be sent to:
- Headquarters USAF (AFCIN)
- ATIC (AFCIN-4A) Wright Patterson, Ohio
- Space track R & D Activity, Hanscom Field, MA
- NORAD, Ent AFB, Colorado

* The overall Project is classified

* Moon Dust alerts are confidential.

Australia

Here in Australia, the Disclosure Australia project (click here) (see final report part 2 appendix 2) found a Department of Supply file (SA5644/2/1) which contained a 1962 memo in which it mentions that the United states Embassy unofficially sought information on sightings of or downed fragments of space vehicles.

The Project's final report page 64 lists nine such reported space fragments recovered in Australia.

Moon Dust references

An examination of the FOIA documents released by the US Defence Intelligence Agency reveals the following documents with Project Moon Dust references:

1. 22 January 1965 Rajasthan, India
2. 11 January 1967 Agadir, Morocco - an object fell into the sea.
3. 28 March 1967 Kasba Tadla, Morocco -An object 8.5m diameter landed on the roof of a house but then took off again.
4. 25 Mar 1968, Nepal - Four object located.
5. Jul 1968 Location unknown - nose cone photographed.
6. 1 Aug 1970 Lai, Chad - 18 inch diameter sphere weighing 20-25lbs. Welded two halves. resembled pressurised fuel tank.
7. Nov 1973 Ivory Coast - One object found with cryrillic characters.
8. 20 Oct 1973 New Zealand -Cylindrical object 2 feet long and 7 inch diameter.
9. Dec 1976 Windsor, Ontario, Canada - Objects found.
10. 23 Oct 1978 Ashburton, New Zealand - Two spheres found.
11. 11 Aug 1979 Bolivia - Sphere 70cm in diameter with hole in one side. Second sphere 6kg in weight and 80cm diameter.

Comments:
A review of FOIA released material post 1979, failed to find anything which mentioned Project Moon Dust or spoke of foreign space fragments. There were however documents forwarding on information on UFO reports through to 1996.

Moon Dust changes name?

Researcher Robert Todd referred to a 1987 letter from the USAF, which stated that the "...nickname Project Moon Dust no longer officially exists...It has been replaced by another name that is not releasable." (click here) Has any reader come across references to just what the Project is called these days?

Comment:
Would the USAF still be interested in just not the current Russian space vehicles but also those of Japan, India, China etc? Is the project still running? Has any reader come across evidence that it is?

NASA and Project Moon Dust

I also came across the fact that journalist Leslie Dean headed a FOIA law suit against NASA to locate NASA documents relating to the Kecksburg, PA 1965 crashed object case. (Click here for her final report)

Her work and that of others on this case did reveal that NASA had files on recovered foreign space fragments - the so called "fragology files." However, despite several searches by NASA these files could not be found.

"The documents I received concerned, by and large, the recovery and analysis of fragments and space debris here and abroad; orbital debris; policy formulations for above; discussions of hazards and liability due to falling space debris; clarification of NASA’s role in relation to other government agencies and its role overseas; some Project Moon Dust documents; Gemini and Apollo missions; correspondence and meeting files. Files from the State Department included UFO cases and reports of sightings. These documents shed light on the history of the time, but overall, that’s as far as they went."

"However, some documents did reveal interesting bits of information, even if not about Kecksburg. For example, a one page “memo for record” was prepared by Richard Schullherr, a NASA engineer whose responsibilities included fragology (he was custodian of the fragology files) and who was a liaison to Project Moon Dust, the federal program involving the retrieval of space debris and objects of unknown origin. Dated January 18, 1969, the memo records a visit Schulherr made to the Foreign Technology Division (FTD) of the Air Force Systems Command at Wright Patterson AFB. The purpose was to identify some space debris which had been sent to
NASA, and to “re-establish personal liaison with newly assigned FTD Moondust personnel” headed by Lt. Robert McGill."

7 comments:

  1. Keep up the diligent work. Some of the above provide tantalising glimpses of something "almost revealed". Sooner or later, something has to be verified.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Pauline, a UFOlogist who is somewhat of an expert on Project Moondust is Kevin Randle. He has a blog [sorry I forgot its name but it's easy to find] and perhaps you can contact him for information there. Leslie Kean's interest in the Project stemmed from her spearpointing an attempt to get NASA [or somebody] to admit that they swooped in and gathered up the Kecksburg object, and that Moondust teams were a likely candidate for the work in "space object retrieval". Once upon a time Clifford Stone received a stack of Project Moondust and Project Blue Fly releases, which seemed to indicate that they were for satellite debris retrieval but that still makes them perfectly placed and trained for "other" retrievals. Maybe this helps, if you don't already know all these disconnected bits that I have blundering about in my head.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Kitty and The Professor

    Thanks for your comments. I will follow up the Moon Dust leads, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Pauline, almost certainly the work is going on under another name, as you have already suggested. What can be gleaned from that is that there would be no need for the subsequent project to be classified if it only related to collecting space debris that everybody knows about. I am sure that if all of us hang on long enough, something will emerge.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm very interested in the "moon dust" reference however, can anyone direct me to any more updated information to do with the famous "hopkinville encounters" 1955. When I say updated, has any of the family ever commented on their experience in recent years? cheers Byron at byron6_uk@yahoo.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  6. "An examination of the FOIA documents released by the US Defence Intelligence Agency reveals the following documents with Project Moon Dust references:"

    Do you have links to any of these? I've trawled the FOIA releases but can't find any references...as yet.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi

    I found the Moon Dust docs by
    1. Going to http://www.dia.mil
    2. Resources FOI
    3. Visit electronic reading room
    4. Frequently requested FOI docs
    5. Other available records
    6. Downloading parts 1 and 2 of documents containing information relating to UFOs.

    Hope this helps.

    ReplyDelete

Committee members of the VFSRS/VUFORS : 1959 - 1972

Introduction Between 1959 and 1972, there were over thirty individuals who served on the committee of the Victorian Flying Saucer Resea...