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As its name suggests, ALSACAT is my comprehensive catalog of UFO sighting reports in Alsace, the region is the North-East of France, whether they are "explained" or "unexplained".

The ALSACAT catalog is made of case files with a case number, summary, quantitative information (date, location, number of witnesses...), classifications, all sources mentioning the case with their references, a discussion of the case in order to evaluate its causes, and a history of the changes made to the file. A general index and thematic sub-catalogs give access to these Alsatian case files.

Case of the Peugeot plant in Mulhouse, on November 5, 1990:

Case number:



In the book by ufologist Franck Marie, who estimated that on November 5, 1990, there had been "more than 800 UFOs" over France, there isa report of an observation at 07:01 p.m. for 2 minutes from the Peugeot factory near Mulhouse. The testimony was received by mail addressed to Franck Marie and mentions 7 witnesses, from the personnel of the "fire department" of the Peugeot factory.

An "Amalgam of luminous balls moving in the sky" at an "undetermined" altitude was seen.

The letter said: "Driver of the vehicle used to transport the fire service personnel, I leave the barracks and scan the sky. It is cold. Many stars... I look right, left, then suddenly my attention is attracted by a rather impressive luminous ball (the size of a nice orange). I stop and find that there are other smaller balls, evolving at the same speed and in the same direction, in a descending sequence but on a large surface and without noise (the size of a hand). I immediately alert my colleagues who were in the J9 so they can see the event..."

The thing would have moved from west to east with a passage to the north, and its size would have been that of a hand stretched out at arm's length.

This was, of course, one of the numerous sightings of what was absolutely not a "UFO", but the flaming debris of a Russian Proton that crossed the sky of France from the South-West to the North-East on that day and time.


Temporal data:

Date: November 5, 1990
Time: 07:01 p.m.
Duration: 2 minutes.
First known report date: November 8, 1990
Reporting delay: 3 days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Mulhouse.
Place: From the Peugeot plant in Mulhouse, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.773
Longitude: 7.427
Uncertainty ratio: 1 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 7
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: ?
Witness(es) ages: Adults.
Witness(es) types: Firemen of car factory.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Letter to ufologist Franck Marie after call for witnesses.
Type of location: From outside at a car factory, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Space junk reentry.


[Ref. fm1:] FRANCK MARIE:

JQ 07:01 p.m. 68 MULHOUSE (Peugeot Plant) (2 mn)

47°45n -7°22e 7 witnesses (Letter of 11/08/90)

Witnesses: Personal of duty of the "fire" service of the Peugeot plant

Object: UFO in the sky - Mulhouse area - 68

Hour: Beginning 07:01 p.m.; end 07:03 p.m. (duration: 2 mn) - Swap of teams

Effects: Pack of luminous balls moving in the sky

Altitude: undétermined

"Driver of the vehicle used to transport personal of the fire department, I get out of the barracks and scan the sky. It's cold. Many stars... I look to the right, left, then, suddenly, my attention is attracted by a pretty impressive luminous ball (the size of a big orange). I stop and note that there are other smaller balls, moving at the same speed and in the same direction, in descending order, but over a large area and without noise (the size of a hand). I immediately notified my colleagues who were in the J9 [Peigeot van] so they can see the event..."

  • Transit: W/E, passage at the north
  • see BO(12), BW(16)
  • Dimension: a hand (= 17cm arm's length); L(= 264m/km)

The report is illustrated of this sketch:



On 5 November 1990, one or two minutes after 07:00 p.m., a very commonplace phenomenon occurred, explained, and devoid of any actual strangeness, but it nevertheless started a UFO delirium of some of the French ufologists.

The sightings started with an explosive decay over the Bay of Biscay in France, resulting in combustion fragments seen from afar, and generally, as they approached, seen as a group of three main lights - hence it was called a "triangle" - of large angular size, and followed by trails of smoke and sparks.

Once over land, the thing was seen from different angles and at various distances by people on the ground, which gives a range of quite diverse descriptions.

The thing crossed France following a line approximately from Bordeaux to Strasbourg, in silence, in a straight line without any maneuver, in two to three minutes, reaching Strasbourg at about 07:06 p.m.

There were also sightings reported from the South of England, London, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, but not beyond.

In the evening, several Gendarmerie brigades contacted the National Center for Space Studies to report what people told them. Gendarmes brigades of Angers and Tulle got the chance to see the display themselves. In the evening, the Press service of the armies, SIRPA, confirmed that military pilots had seen something without being able to formally identify it. Near Paris airports of Orly and Roissy, the luminous phenomenon was seen from the control towers. Hundreds or even thousands of civilians reported their sightings to the authorities, the Press and other media.

Radio stations, television channels, newspapers, talk of a UFO, then a meteor, and finally the correct explanation appeared through information given by NASA: it was the entering in the atmosphere of the remains of a Russian Proton rocket launched from the Baikonur space center to put a Gorizont 21 satellite in orbit. Calculations had predicted the fallout of the rocket debris at its 36th orbit, crossing France from the South West to the North East on November 5, 1990 around 07:00 p.m.. SEPRA, then officially in charge of such matters, provided this explanation to news agencies on November 9, 1990.

In November 5, 1990 already, an amateur expert in satellites and space debris impact trajectory calculations, Pierre Neirinck, had seen himself, and had also identified the phenomenon, independently of NASA, as space junk from the Proton rocket.

Any sensible ufologist should have understood what is was from the beginning, given the descriptions, and at least understand thereafter that it was a classical space junk case. But some ufologists refused to hear anything about a rocket and continued to talk and write about it as a "UFO flap", of "400 UFOs" or even "thousands of UFOs", often mixing other, unrelated sightings that were more or less of the same day, sighting who have other explanations. This resulted in the continuing presence of this explained case as massive UFO sightings in some of the UFO literature, and of course this includes observations made in Alsace.


Space junk reentry.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:


Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editeur: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 14, 2018 Creation, [fm1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 14, 2018 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 14, 2018.