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Official, France:

In France, there is still no equivalent of the Freedom of Information Acts (FOIA) as it is now applied to some official UFO information in the majority of other countries, USA, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy etc. In France, and only in theory, information is supposedly possibly accessible 60 years after its date. (Thus 2014 for UFO cases of 1954 etc). It is only if you are "Somebody of Importance" such as TV journalist Jean-Claude Bourret in the 70's, or if you have "Friends Inside", or if you beg enough, that you can maybe pick up some documents.

From "GEPAN" to "SEPRA":

This document was reproduced in the ufological litterature long ago.

The document:


The translated transcription:



Information letter

Starting on November 25, 1988, the National center for Space Studies created a Service of Expertise of Atmospheric Re-entries, the SEPRA.

This service is in charge of:

  • follow-up of the objects put into orbit returning in the atmosphere
  • du recueil et du pré-traitement des informations concernant les phénomènes aérospatiaux non identifiés collection and preprocessing of information concerning the unidentified aerospace phenomena

As in the past, the activities relating to the unidentified space phenomena will be done on the basis of reactualized agreement protocols between CNES and the public serives (Gendarmerie, civil and military aviation, National Weather Service). However, the production and the sale of the technical documents to the public are stopped.

SEPRA is attached within the Exploitation Sub-Direction of the Operational Systems of the Space Center of Toulouse a the ESO/SC Department.

SEPRA activities

Space rentries

  • Selection of the objects put into orbit and follow-up according to the criteria defined by the Management of the Space Center of Toulouse for the determination of the re-entry frame of these objects.
  • Installation of procedures of coordination and the means at the time of particular re-entries (SKYLAB, COSMOS 1900 type, etc).

Unidentified aerospace phenomena

  • Collect and information management concerning the unidentified aerospace phenomena
  • sorting and expertises of this information
  • organization of thorough investigations
  • availability of these results at the laboratories and organizations of research eager to use them within the frame of their own work
  • eventually coordination of multi-field studies in this field.

Toulouse, September 14, 1989

I want to give some explanations in connection with this document.

As everyone can know or ignore, in 1977 France set up an official group to study UFO reports, called GEPAN, which functioned within the CNES, France's small NASA equivalent.

GEPAN did their work and, concluded that there are UFO reports having ordinary explanations, but also other reports, which are reports of real objects which cannot come from out planet. The publication of this result (*) was forbidden by CNES. The head of the GEPAN, Claude Poher, quit to go boating, which much intrigued ufologists here.

(*) I cannot repeat all the story and reproduce the file here, other documents in this section clarify or will clarify all these points.

Claude Poher explains in connection with a case into which he inquired when he was the head of GEPAN (

"Thus, my objective here is really "to help our contemporaries to make their opinion by themselves on the facts of Cussac". Because I thinks that the stake is important. It indeed seems to me that I have some reasons to provide a knowledgeable opinion, because it was me who founded GEPAN within CNES in 1977. It is me who carried out the official field investigation, in Cussac, in 1978, during two days, with three other people. It is me who presented the analysis of the testimonys of Cussac to an official scientific committee composed of eight people, in 1978. Finally it is me who decided to leave the direction of GEPAN in 1979, quite simply because CNES intended "to prevent us from publishing our work", for reasons "obviously scientific", as would state publicly Mr Curien 25 years later, to a journalist of "Ciel et Espace" in 2004, "That formed part of the contract. We did not wish to publish so that we not not enter a public polemic."

The letter which precedes establishes the replacement of the GEPAN by the SEPRA.

Two things are to be noted:

When at the beginning of the 90's, Jean-Jacques Velasco, the engineer who headed this SEPRA wrote that UFOs are real, he will have no document, no work completed within the SEPRA, to justify its opinion.

When in the beginning of 2005, he published his book to tell there that UFOs are extraterrestrial, he will have nothing either to publish resulting from SEPRA work, no document, no case file, no work, to justify his opinion, except three already known cases dating from the GEPAN times.

And SEPRA is then closed by CNES, CNES making clear that the extraterrestrial UFOS are only one personal opinion of Jean-Jacques Vélasco, and that his mission will continue in some other form, remaining to be defined.

All this does not prevent some people here from swearing that there is no UFO secrecy in France, that all is clear and transparent...

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This page was last updated on July 3, 2005.