I have been browsing the TROVE digitised newspaper collection of the National Library of Australia. Most of the digitised newspapers have been digitised only up until the year 1954. However, the "Canberra Times" newspaper, is available through till 1992. I came across the following intriguing article on page 1 of the Tuesday 22 June 1982 issue. I have added some links for readers to obtain further information about key data in the article.
"The UFO that remains very, very 'U'"
By Frank Cranston, Defence and Aviation correspondent.
"On the morning of Friday, June 4, about 300 nautical miles south of Cocos Island,(click here) a small task force of Soviet military and civilian ships collected an object which had come from space.
The re-entry of the object and its recovery by the Russians was closely observed by a Lockheed P3C Orion patrol aircraft (click here) of the Royal Australian Air Force.
During several sweeps low over the area the cameras and other sensors aboard the Orion captured a series of pictures, apparently in minute detail, of exactly what it was the Soviets deployed their ships to gather.
A specially equipped United States Air Force Boeing 707 electronic intelligence aircraft ( click here) was also in the vicinity and may have taken its own photographs of the recovery operation.
Two days later, the RAAF issued pictures of the Soviet ships but no information about what they recovered.
Beyond the release of the pictures, no further information has been made available. Not only have the authorities since refused to release pictures of the space vehicle and its recovery but refused even to comment on its nature and why it might have been programmed (if it was) to splash down so close to a relatively well-trafficked area.
Not only the Australian authorities ("at the highest level") are refusing information on the Soviet vehicle but also the US.
At the weekend the US Secretary of State, Mr Haig, (click here) disclosed that, in the period leading up to and during the "splashdown" the Soviets were testing an anti-satellite weapon or "killer" satellite.(Click here.)
Defence officials have refused to speculate on whether this could have been the vehicle recovered in the Indian Ocean.
A Soviet space authority denied last week that the vehicle was connected with the Salyut program (click here) or that it was part of the Soviet space shuttle. (Click here.)
There has never been any reticence on the part of Western or Soviet authorities to discuss civil satellites. A good example of this was the much-publicised re-entry of Skylab..."
The "U" is identified:
With the hindsight of time, and use of the Internet, it was easy for me to determine just what the RAAF photographed in June 1982. It was no extra-terrestrial spacecraft, but a Soviet one. It turns out that the mysterious object which came from space was a Soviet unpiloted orbital rocket plane. For further details please take a look at (click here.) For some fascinating intelligence aspects of this and the Soviet space shuttle program, click here.