On 9 July 2016, the following video purportedly showing a UFO entering Earth’s atmosphere was posted to YouTube:

YouTube user Streetcap1 noted that a “UFO” simply meant an unidentified flying object, and that the object in the video could by anything from a UFO to am alien spacecraft. But he added that this footage was of special interest because the NASA feed cut out shortly after the “UFO” appeared:

Remember a ufo is an unidentified flying object. This could well be a meteor or the like. What made it interesting was the camera cut off when the ufo seemed to stop. Streetcap1.

Did NASA cut the feed in an attempt to cover up a UFO?

According to spokesperson Daniel Huot, the footage came from NASA’s High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment, which gets its feed from several cameras externally mounted on the International Space Station (ISS) and suffers regular outages as the ISS passes out of range of relay satellites. Also, Huot said, the object shown in the above-displayed video isn’t uncommon:

The station regularly passes out of range of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) used to send and receive video, voice and telemetry from the station,” Huot said. “For video, whenever we lose signal (video comes down on our higher bandwidth, called KU) the cameras will show a blue screen (indicating no signal) or a preset video slate.”

“As for the ‘object,’ it’s very common for things like the moon, space debris, reflections from station windows, the spacecraft structure itself or lights from Earth to appear as artifacts in photos and videos from the orbiting laboratory,” Huot said.

Although HDEV may provide some spectacular views from the International Space Station, NASA explains that the true purpose of the project is to analyze the effect of space on video over time:

The High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment places four commercially available HD cameras on the exterior of the space station and uses them to stream live video of Earth for viewing online. The cameras are enclosed in a temperature specific housing and are exposed to the harsh radiation of space. Analysis of the effect of space on the video quality, over the time HDEV is operational, may help engineers decide which cameras are the best types to use on future missions. High school students helped design some of the cameras’ components, through the High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program, and student teams operate the experiment. 

This isn’t the first time that NASA has been accused of cutting video footage as a UFO appeared on screen. In January 2015, a similar video circulated along with claims that NASA purposefully cut the footage to conceal evidence about the existence of UFOs. Oddly enough (or not), that video was also posted by YouTube user Streetcap1.