Date: 5 April 2016
From: Brad Sparks
Subject: June 18, 1982; Gong Heui, Hebei, China
To: CE List, NICAP

Brad Sparks wrote:
For the theory to work that this Chinese military pilot EM case was a mere sighting of a Soviet satellite launch, the satellite over Central Russia would have had to be visible a great distance away in North Eastern China.   The satellite would have had to be launched to a height of around 1,000 to 9,000 miles in order to be seen from that far away in NE China -- not the 200 miles or so altitude of the low earth orbit Soviet spy satellite launch.

It wasn't Kosmos 1310 either, which was not even launched in 1982 but in 1981 (Sept 23).  Apparently, someone has confused an approximate time of civilian sightings (of no direct bearing on the military aircraft encounters anyway), with the Kosmos satellite numbering!

The closest launch was a Zenith-6 type recon spy satellite, which was Kosmos 1381 not "Kosmos-1310." 

It was launched at 1300 GMT / UTC on June 18, 1982. 

The ATS webpage presents the theory that the 2157 time was Beijing Time (I have no way to check sources to see if that is true).  If so, then 2157 Beijing Standard Time was still almost one hour too late for the Soviet launch, which was at 2100 Beijing Standard Time (1300 GMT).  

Could they have been on Daylight Saving Time then?  Online sources state that Beijing was not on DST in 1982 and did not start observing DST until 1986.  See:

But let's suppose there was a mistake on when Beijing started following DST and for some reason it was in fact being observed in 1982 and the Chinese pilots were using Beijing DST. 

The times would come closer.  Maybe 3-5-minute errors in Chinese military time reporting is possible but it still would not make the Soviet satellite visible, it would still have been far below the earth's horizon. 

As I have noted, the killer problem with this theory is the fact that the approximately 2,500 to 5,000-mile distance would put the Soviet launch from Baikonur / Tyuratam Cosmodrome well below the earth's horizon.  The Kosmos 1381 spy sat was launched into a naturally very low earth orbit of about 123 x 232 miles to get good pictures, a near-polar orbit of 70 degs inclination, so it didn't come down to Manchuria or the Kamchatka Peninsula but flew into the Arctic Circle before coming down to North America. 

Again, for the satellite to have been visible at those great distances it would have had to have been launched to a height of around 1,000 to 9,000 miles -- not 200 miles or so.

I have checked the NARCAP website and the only sources given are Timothy Good's Above Top Secret, which has to be used very cautiously, and behind Good or separately is a 1993 book by a Chinese UFOlogist Shi Bo, now living in France, called L'Empire du Milieu troublé par les OVNIS [The Middle Kingdom (=China) troubled with the UFO's].  

I have no way to get Shi Bo's book to check whether it has been accurately reported and translated. 

I should mention, IF the location is totally wrong and it was really in the NW China (Xinjiang autonomous region), not NE China, then the Kosmos 1381 launch theory might have a fighting chance, as it would get the distance down to under 1,000 miles and a satellite launch at 100-200 miles altitude might be visible low on their Western horizon.  But we still do not know what direction they saw their UFO.  

But it would require that the Chinese pilots use Beijing Time when they were nowhere near Beijing.  And they would be flying in daylight not nighttime, which might be a deal-killer for visibility in bright sunshine unless they were flying high enough and the atmosphere was clear enough.  Chinese sources reproduced in Good's book (p. 471) show outlandish drawings of the jet fighter encounter that seem to be depicted as nighttime.