There are accounts of astronauts seeing anomalies while being in the International Space Station (ISS). Sometimes they have been spotted during the live broadcast but the space agencies ignore them, claiming space debris, dirt in the camera’s lenses, or light effect. However, the case of two anomalies and Samantha Cristoforetti’s scream in fear, Italy’s first female astronaut onboard the Soyuz spacecraft during docking with the International Space Station (ISS) in 2014 is still unexplainable.
Samantha Cristoforetti was born in Milan, Italy, on April 26, 1977. Between November 2014 and June 2015, she spent 200 days in space on her Futura mission to the International Space Station as a Flight Engineer for Expeditions 42 and 43. Samantha was selected as an ESA astronaut in May 2009. She joined ESA in September 2009 and completed her basic astronaut training in November 2010. She’s completely fluent in Italian, English, German, French, and Russian.
On November 23, 2014, the Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft was planning to drop its Russian robot, Skybot F-850 to dock at the International Space Station. Cristoforetti was onboard Soyuz TMA-14 along with Roscosmos astronaut Anton Shkaplerov, and NASA astronaut Terry Virts at that time.
As the spacecraft approached the ISS and docking was in process, Cristoforetti saw what appeared to be two huge, glowing orbs zooming tow̳a̳r̳d each other. The orb can be seen moving from top to bottom in the center of the screen at approximately the 1:20 mark.
What appeared on the screen, shocked Cristoforetti so much that she screamed in fear, and immediately her colleague Anton Shkaplerov can be heard saying her to calm down. The video quickly went viral and in no time, it was all over social media.
After the noticeable excitement on the video, many were wondering what Cristoforetti actually saw that caused such a response so she took to Google to give an explanation for the shout. Cristoforetti explains she “wasn’t prepared in the least for what I saw when we were at about 30-40 meters [from the Space Station].”
“I had released my shoulder straps quite a bit at that point, so I was floating over my seat. As I turned to look outside, at first I looked back and saw one of our Soyuz solar panels, which I had seen before of course. Then my eyes caught something in the peripheral view. And as I slowly turned my gaze and when I realized what I was seeing, I was overcome by pure amazement and joy: the Space Station was there, but not just any view. The huge solar panels were flooded in a blaze of orange light, vivid, w̳a̳r̳m almost a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳. I couldn’t help exclaiming something aloud, which you can probably hear in the recordings of our docking, since at that point we were “hot mic” with Mission Control. Anton reminded me of that and so I tried to contain my amazement and return to the docking monitoring. When I peaked again later, the orange glow was gone.
Butch told me later that he had heard my amazement on com when “the Station had turned orange.” I didn’t know, but apparently there’s only a few seconds during day-night transition that the Station is lit by that amazing orange glow. And it happened to be exactly when I peaked outside! I feel very fortunate that I had such a unique first glimpse of our human outpost in space: such a great welcome!”
In fact, former US Department of Defense U̳F̳O̳ investigator Nick Pope stated that this was not only an unprecedented occurrence but also one of the greatest proofs of ex̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳ life, not only in space but in our Solar System and very close to us.”
In her Wiki, her NASA.gov profile, and interview with Financial Times there’s no mention of the scream incident. The reporter gets closest to the mystery when asking, “Did you suffer from any unexpected/unpleasant experiences while in space?” She never mentions the scream (which seems odd considering the question) but answers in the affirmative because she “didn’t fall into the 50% who suffer space sickness.” In her latest video by NASA, she mentioned no scream incident as well.
It is unprecedented that even after everything was recorded on live footage, she never spoke about it. However, there are other outer space incidents that happened with astronauts who publicly admitted experiencing strangeness in space.
–Former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin claimed to have seen what appeared to be an “organic, a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳-like creature” in the space shuttle payload bay and even reported the sighting to ground control.
–During his time in space, former NASA astronaut Jerry M. Linenger saw some anomalies that were not space debris. He shared his sightings in a live interview with Bild in 2018.
–On May 5, 1981, retired Russian cosmonaut Vladimir Kovalyonok saw something remarkable from the porthole of Salyut 6. According to Kovalyonok, at around 6 p.m., when the spacecraft was flying over South Africa moving tow̳a̳r̳ds the Indian ocean, he saw an elliptical-shaped object that was flying along with the spacecraft.
–Former NASA astronaut Franklin Story Musgrave said about his experience in space would shock anyone. He claimed to have seen an 8-foot-long snake, white in color, floating through space. It is hard to explain how a snake could reach space, but Musgrave has never denied it.