"It followed us during half of our orbit. We observed it on the light side, and when we entered the shadow side, it disappeared completely. It was an engineered structure, made from some type of metal, approximately 40 meters long with inner hulls. The object was narrow here and wider here, and inside there were openings. Some places had projections like small wings. The object stayed very close to us. We photographed it, and our photos showed it to be 23 to 28 meters away. Many cosmonauts have seen phenomena which are far beyond the experiences of earthmen. For ten years I never spoke on such things. The encounter you asked me about happened on May 5, 1981, at about 6 PM, during the Saljut Mission. At that time we were over the area of South Africa, moving towards the area of the Indian ocean. I just made some gymnastic exercises, when I saw in front of me, through a porthole, an object which I could not explain. It is impossible to determine distances in Space. A small object can appear large and far away and the other way around. Sometimes a cloud of dust appears like a large object. Anyway, I saw this object and then something happened I could not explain, something impossible according to the laws of Physics. The object had this shape, elliptical, and flew with us. From a frontal view it looked like it would rotate in flight direction. It only flew straight, but then a kind of explosion happened, very beautiful to watch, of golden light. This was the first part. Then, one or two seconds later, a second explosion followed somewhere else and two spheres appeared, golden and very beautiful. After this explosion I just saw white smoke, then a cloud-like sphere. Before we entered the darkness, we flew through the terminator, the twilight-zone between day and night. We flew eastwards, and when we entered the darkness of the Earth shadow, I could not see them any longer. The two spheres never returned."Cosmonaut Victor Afanasyev commenting on a UFO sighting that occurred while en route to the Solyut 6 space station in April of 1979.
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