Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The (Real) 1964 Socorro sighting

The Socorro/Zamora sighting of April 24, 1964 was a Hughes Aircraft testing episode.

Here is a prototype moon lander (similar to the one seen by Lonnie Zamora) -- the Surveyor was used for later moon landings:


Here is the full schematic:


Here is the Army's moon lander design:


And here is a lander (with module) that is similar to the Hughes design:


This is the Russian LK lander, which was close in design to the Hughes prototype -- note the uniformed astronaut:


Here is the opening of a paper from Holloman AFB about the methodology that was used to test the lander:

XIII. Application of a Tethering System to a Specific Requirement

Michael Kretow
Holloman Air Force Base
New Mexico

It is hoped that before the end of 1965, an assault will be made on the moon with Surveyor, a squat three-legged derrick of piping and scientific equipment being built by Hughes Aircraft Company.

For a full, detailed analysis of the Socorro sighting (including an explanation for the insignia seen/drawn by Zamora which we’ve traced to a Hughes logo), bona fide researchers can request access to our private UFO web-site.



Blogger Steve said...

No, most of this is not correct.

The illustrations of the small moonlander was for a lunar Gemini project, but it never got any further than drawings. Lunar Gemini never got past the 'cool idea' phase.

What you show as an "Army moon lander design" is actually a sketch of a proposed lunar flyer, a vehicle that was proposed as an alternative to the rover that was carried by Apollo's 15-17. It, too, never got past the "really cool sketch" phase.

The LK and the Hughes design are NOT similar at all, with the exception that they have legs and are meant to land on the moon.

The quote concerning testing is about testing Surveyor from a cable rig. Surveyor was never meant to carry people, and an illustration will demonstrate this quite nicely.

Also, even the manned vehicles you show were meant to carry one person; Zamora reported seeing *two* occupants. Additionally, neither the LK, the Hughes lander nor the proposed lunar flyer would have been able to lift off the ground on Earth; they were designed to operate at no greater than the 1/3 g found on the lunar surface.

If you wish to post information like this in the future, I'd be more than willing to review it for accuracy first. If I recall the RRRGroup railed against current UFO 'researchers' techiques; if you want to set an example accuracy is an absolute must.

My understanding of the logo seen by Zamora was that it *resembled* a logo used by Space Power Systems, but also resembled an ancient Sumerian/Babylonian graphic.

February 14, 2007  
Blogger RRRGroup said...


The full text of the Holloman testing paper shows how the lander was tested, and approximates, rather closely, what happened at Socorro.

The Hughes lander (prototype) was classified, and we have been hard-put to discover the actual schematic or photo of it -- but there are ample clues derived from NASA and Hughes Tool Company which define the thing rather explicitly.

The lander seen by Zamora wasn't piloted by anyone, but the two engineers he saw were attending the prototype.

The insignia (once said to be a paper company logo, used by that company in a balloon excursion in 1964 that an Indiana University engineer claims he read about in a popular magazine of the 60s) has been called (by Leon Davidson) a transformation of the CIA mantle; and lots of other possibilities have been proffered.

We show, at our UFO web-site (, the Hughes Tools logo it resembles, based on a computer programming symbol (used by Hughes in its computer business).

The Russian LK design was available to many -- it wasn't a secret design but one that aeronautics engineers were privy to, and Hughes staffers also.

More on our hypothesis upcoming.

Your offer to review our postings is interesting. Want to be one of the RRRGroup?

February 14, 2007  
Blogger Steve said...

What's the source of this Holloman paper? I'd be interested in learning more about that, particularly the rationale behind classifying a lander prototype (especially one with limited capability which I KNOW was sketched out simply as a 'what if' for a proposed Gemini lunar mission).

As for Zamora's occupants being engineers: Zamora's original report states that the occupants literally disappeared before the vehicle flew away. That doesn't sound like typical engineer behavior :)

Now, Zamora had bad eyesight, so one COULD suggest that his bad eyesight was the cause of the occupants 'disappearing', but then that would add a question regarding how clearly he saw the symbol on the side of the craft, which then adds the question of what was REALLY on the side of the object.

I'm not sure what membership in the RRRGroup involves.

February 14, 2007  
Blogger RRRGroup said...


Send us your e-mail address (to and we'll send you the Holloman paper, and other pertinent materials.


February 14, 2007  
Blogger Brian said...

Is Zamora still alive? Wouldn't any doubts be laid to rest if someone just asked him if the Hughes design is what he saw?

February 14, 2007  
Blogger RRRGroup said...


One of our fellows talked with Lonnie Zamora's wife last year; he's still alive but won't discuss the episode, nor will she.

We've always contended that Zamora had (has) a visual defect. (He wore glasses, and a photo of him shows one eye larger than the other.)

Thus, he may have misinterpreted what he saw.

Investigators -- one an eye-doctor -- chooses to ignore this vital clue, saying that because Zamora was a police officer, his eyes must have been okay. No one has checked this out however, and Zamora is silent on the topic.

You've seen Zamora's sketch of the insignia, and the Hughes computer logo we found matches it.

So was Zamora's eyesight okay and he got it right? Or did he misperceive the logo, and our find is just a coincidence?

This is why we contend that ufologists are remiss when it comes to investigations. Their belief systems stand in the way of an objective determination of events.

This leaves the Socorro event open to conjecture, even though usually credible ufologists (Jerome Clark) think that the Socorro sighting is one of the best if not the best UFO sighting of all.

February 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Holloman report reference I assume was from "Application of a tethering system to a specific requirement" by Kretow, published in July 1, 1965 in the "Proceedings of the 1964 Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory Scientific Balloon Symposium" pg 135-137. This covered a balloon tethering method to provide a stable platform for preflight and soft landing tests of the Surveyor vehicle.

However, if you examine the JPL Monthly reports for the period (Space Programs Summary #37-27 from March 1, 1964 to April 30,1964), it says (pg 105), "T-2 descent dynamics test program. The descent dynamics test program employs a simplified test spacecraft, T-2, on which the vernier propulsion and flight control systems will be tested in vehicle descents from a tethered balloon at Air Force Missile Development Center. The drop test phase of the program will start in the next report period."

On page 110, " Test 15: Vertical drop test from baloon with radar attitude control. The objectives of this next test in the T_2 program are as follows:
(b) Evaluate fuel utilization
(h) Verify engine/radar noise compatibility
In this test the vehicle will be suspended from a balloon at an alittude of 1200 ft above the terrain.....After ignition, T-2 separation will be delayed for 5 sec to evaluate radar operation..."

Also, on pg 111 is the descent profile showing the high thrust level beings only 201 lbs, the weight of the test vehicle at only 206 lbs.

Using just this reference, one would assume that the drop test could not have occurred on April 24, 1964. But of course, there are delays in reporting, so we should look at the next one.

What is reported for the next time period (#37-28, May 1 1964 to June 30, 1964),pg 32, "In the attempts to conduct the first balloon drop test of the T-2 descent test vehicle at AFMDC, the vehicle was accidently released and the recovery provisions disabled so that the T-2 was destroyed."

On pg 155, "Preparations and checkout of the T-2 vehicle at AFMDC were initiated in April to meet a drop scheduled for appr. April 10.... (due to radar checkout problems) preparations and checkout were stopped on April 4... The buildup and checkout for the drop test was completed on April 19 and the drop test attempts were made on April 21, 22, and 23. Cancellations were necessary each time because of hardware and weather problems. The drop test was again attempted on April 28. At T minus 40 min, the vehicle was inadvertently dropped due to random squib firings. Emergency recovery measures failed and the vehicle EXPLODED and burned on impact. Static discharge is currently suspected as the cause of the inadvertent squib firings. An investigating committee was formed and a detailed report of the incident has been published."

(I have not seen the detailed report. Anyone out there who has?)

"The spare vehicle, T-2S, was built up in May and six drops will be accompished to reverify the recovery systems...."

So, at least officially, they did not perform a test drop on April 24. And they would unlikely do so in a publicly accessible area since it could EXPLODE. They would only test the device over a rigidly controlled test area and destroy it up if the wind blew it outside a small area. In a perfect test, after cutting the tether successfully, the fuel of the lander was insufficient to make it land very far away from a rigidly defined zone, again not likely to go into public areas.

So it is likely that we can rule out the Surveyor balloon test as a cause of the Socorro incident, unless you have some sort of amazing document that goes against the NASA/JPL version of Surveyor testing. If you do, please make it known to CNN/etc.

As to the other landers you propose, they were either only just paper or built later than 1964.

February 15, 2007  
Blogger RRRGroup said...


Nice exgesis of the events outlined in the paper you cite.


Our use of the Holloman report was merely to show what methods were used in testing lander descents and ascensions.

It wasn't meant to specifically apply to the Socorro event, which was, circumstantially (we admit), a Hughes test.

The Hughes connection is still shrouded in secrecy pretty much, although we've accumulated enough material from NASA and Hughes archives to make a case.

The point, for us, is that Socorro was a terrerestrial episode, misperceived by Lonnie Zamora and beclouded by inept investigations of the UFO crowd.

The uniformed "aeronauts" (seen by Zamora) were not dwarfish. The take-off was equatable with a rocket thrust. The insignia was not alien in nature. The imprints left behind were not unusual, and corresponded to what a lander would leave. Et cetera.

We'll provide more, here, if interest in the topic doesn't wane.

February 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems highly unlikely that any secret or classified testing program is going to test aircraft or spacecraft within range of the public or in public accessible areas. For safety reasons, it is unlikely that ANY testing program will be conducted in this way.

With all the thousands of acres available for a test program, it is highly unlikely that Hughes Corp or any company (except teenagers, the Three Stooges or Abbott/Costello) to test in a public area some device that could explode due to the fuel onboard.

This same argument of terrestrial testing of secret devices such as the huge UFO triangles that supposedly perform low level overflies of cities and public areas strikes me as dubious. Secret testing would be done in controlled areas. No reason to test a secret device in public.

Regarding the "beings", there was some question as to whether they were creatures or simply objects misinterpreted to be uniformed creatures. It could have been blowing fabric/balloons/ people/robots/etc.

As to the insignia being "not alien", well for one thing how do you define something not being alien enough? Also, Zamora's interpretation of an alien glyph could have been based within his mental framework of terrestrial shapes/writing.

Also, I do not think that Surveyor had ANY ascent testing (why would it?). All they tested was descent since that was mainly what Surveyor did (it did "move" by reigniting the engines after landing once I think on the Moon to test the ability to perform the function of relocation, but this was an afterthought, not a part of the testign program). The balloon tests carried the spacecraft aloft and then the tether cut and the spacecraft hopefully was to descend to the surface without exploding. No relaunch. There didn't have any fuel! Now if Hughes wanted to test some secret vehicle for ascents too, they could have done so, but in a rigidly controlled, nonpublic reservation/zone with safety range officers and emergency destruct switches and everything.

Also, although the Socorro UFO propulsion did make a large noise that COULD have been rocket/jet based (terrestrial), it could also have been some form of plasma/ion propulsion (less likely terrestrial for the 1960's). Without a recording of the sound, we can't know for sure.

Even ignoring the "occupants" (assuming they were just blowing fabric/debris) weight/safety systems to keep them from dieing in the event of any failure (which was built into other such publicly known testing platforms at the time), the amount of fuel needed for a rocket/jet engine to both land safely and then take off and zoom into the distance (with no propellers and no balloon ascent system) would not be feasible for the size of the vehicle and its implied mass (based on all the mass needed for structure/electronics/ radar/batteries/ propulsion (the engine itself would be one of the largest mass items)).

The imprints need to be "unusual"?
What do alien imprint look like?
Sure the landing system looks terrestrial but why can't aliens
have similar systems?

I think you need to at least show the testing schedule of the supposed Hughes device that landed at Socorro before we go any further.

February 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always considered that Mr Zamora,though sincere, was purely witnessing an experimental vehicle. Your research, particularly the Hughes link gives a pretty compelling explanation - much more exensive than anything i've seen elsewhere. I am not a bona fide UFO researcher (more of a bona fide skeptic) so unfortunately I won't be able to check out the Hughes Tool symbol, which would have been interesting.
Moving on; I've yet to see a detailed explanation of one of the other 'poster boys' of the UFO community - the Shag Harbour incident.
Have you turned your critical eye on that case yet?

March 19, 2007  
Blogger Matt G. (NYC) said...

I found a logo for "Hughes Connecting Devices" which to my mind looks even more like Zamora's "symbol" than the standard Hughes Tools logo. (Although I haven't been allowed access to your personal website, so I haven't yet seen the extent of the logos and symbols you have collected, so maybe you already have what I found - although I don't think so.)

I'll be glad to share the logo I found, if anyone wants to see it. (I've already been in touch with Max, and tried to "friend" Rich Reynolds on Facebook, no response yet.)

April 15, 2009  
Blogger VFM081 said...

It sounds like the debunking of the Zamora incident is argument by analogy, rather than factual. It also seems odd to keep proof of a thesis behind some sort of password protected firewall instead of simply laying it out.

Zamora may have misidentified a mundane human origin vehicle or he may not, but it's also of concern that attacking the witness is part of the analysis this site provides. If that is a tentpole of an argument the argument is not strong.

January 07, 2011  
Blogger RRRGroup said...


You would do well to see newer posts about Socorro here and at The UFO Iconoclast(s) blog:


January 07, 2011  

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