U.S. takes surveillance balloon down over South Carolina


Photo from CNBC

On January 28th, a Chinese surveillance balloon was observed entering U.S. airspace through Alaska. It then traveled over Canada and entered the continental U.S. through Montana on February 1st. Finally, it traveled towards the East Coast and was shot down off of the coast of South Carolina on February 4th. The balloon, which is larger than the statue of liberty, stayed remarkably intact even though it fell over 60,000 feet. Recovery operations began a day later, on February 5th.

China has maintained that it was one of their weather balloons that veered off course. But, according to reports from the US government, the balloon had equipment that was made for intelligence surveillance, along with multiple antennas that were believed to be “capable of collecting and geo-location communications,” according to a statement by a senior State Department official. 

The military enhanced its radar sensitivity after past events, and so far, three more unidentified flying objects have been shot down. On February 16, 2023, President Joe Biden addressed the nation about the spy balloon and additional unidentified flying objects. He stated that “nothing right now suggests they were related to China’s spy balloon program or that they were surveillance vehicles from any other country.” Explaining that these unidentified objects were most likely connected to private research institutions and companies that were conducting scientific research. The navy is expected to finish its search for the remnants of the spy balloon, and these parts will be sent to a lab for further study.