Astronaut Sees 'UFO' Near Space Station (Video)

When any kind of unidentified flying object floats by the International Space Station, you can bet astronauts are going to notice. That's just what happened this week, and one space traveler caught it all on video.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy was quick on the draw when he captured a video of the 'unidentified object' near the space station. He spotted the object floating near the space station on Monday (Aug. 19).

"Was it a UFO? Not really," NASA officials wrote in a video description. "Russian ground controllers identified it as an antenna cover from the Zvezda service module."

The object was an antenna cover from one of the low-gain WAL antennas on the space station used to help guide the European Space Agency's unmanned Automated Transfer Vehicle cargo ships during rendezvous and docking operations, NASA officials said.

An unidentified object floats near the International Space Station on August 19, 2013. Russian ground controllers later identified it as an antenna cover from the Zvezda service module. (Image credit: NASA TV)

NASA spokesman Josh Byerly told in an email that the wayward antenna cover, which is now space junk, poses no impact threat to the space station.

An antenna cover from the Zvezda service module floats outside the International Space Station on August 19, 2013. (Image credit: NASA (via YouTube as NASAgovVideo))

During a spacewalk outside the station today (Aug. 22), two Russian cosmonauts are inspecting six WAL antennas on the Zvezda module to check the positions of their covers. The cosmonauts reported some of the covers to be loose and were expected to tighten them back in place.

The International Space Station is currently home to six space travelers representing Russia, the United States and Italy. Its Expedition 36 crew includes three cosmonauts from Russia, two American astronauts representing NASA and one Italian astronaut representing the European Space Agency.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.