Another balloon spotted over US airspace, but is China to blame?

First noticed on the 28th of April, another mysterious balloon-like object was spotted over Hawaii. DoD and FDA are actively monitoring.
Christopher McFadden
A representational image of the Chinese balloon
A representational image of the Chinese balloon

Chase Doak/Wikimedia Commons  

U.S. military officials have announced that they are tracking another mysterious balloon in U.S. airspace. As reported by NBC News, the new balloon does not appear to threaten aerial traffic and, it is claimed, is not thought to threaten national security. At the time of writing, it is also unclear who the balloon's operator is.

With the recent news of a Chinese spy balloon traveling unchallenged across continental U.S. airspace in February this year, this news is bound to raise a few eyebrows among the public. It has since been found that that particular balloon gathered intelligence from some sensitive American military installations before being shot down.

According to reports, the new balloon was spotted on the 28th of April and floated across parts of Hawaii, but it did not travel over any sensitive areas and has been tracked ever since. It is also unclear if it is a rogue weather balloon or something more sinister. U.S. officials also added that they could knock it out if needed.

"Although it was flying at an altitude used by civil aviation, it posed no threat to civil aviation over Hawaii," an official spokesman said. "Based on these observations, the Secretary of Defense concurred with the recommendation of his military commanders that no action need be taken against the balloon," they added.

As reported by NBC News, an official Pentagon spokesperson explained that the object is floating at 36,000 feet (10,973 meters) with "no indication that it was maneuvering or being controlled by a foreign or adversarial actor. The balloon did not transit directly over defense critical infrastructure or other U.S. Government sensitive sites, nor did it pose a military or physical threat to people on the ground."

In addition to its limited maneuverability, the object appears to be slowly traveling toward Mexico. U.S. officials were also quick to point out that the presumed balloon is not currently believed to be operated by the Chinese People's Liberation Army. When questioned, the National Security Official deferred questions of the balloon's ownership to the Defense Department.

"U.S. Indo-Pacific Command responded to an unidentified radar signature Friday in the vicinity of the island of Hawaii. Pacific Air Forces launched three F-22s to assess the situation and visually identified a spherical object. We monitored the object's transit and assessed that it posed no threat," a spokesman for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement.

According to Fox News, the balloon has moved out of Hawaii’s airspace. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) said it would continue to track its movement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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