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Chinese Spy Balloon loitering over continental US

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Chinese Spy Balloon loitering over continental US

Old 3rd Feb 2023, 14:33
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Why not just take a spare drone and rip it open while it is over the US and nobody has claimed it to be his? Say it just crashed.

I think this balloon intrusion is intended to become a political trade object versus US overflights of "their" (claimed) eastern pacific reefs and through "their" (claimed to be chinese) international airspace.

Last edited by Less Hair; 3rd Feb 2023 at 15:26.
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 14:51
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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JOKE Well, perhaps one of these has been drifting around since WW2? JOKE OVER
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fu-Go_balloon_bomb
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 15:23
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BALLOON HYSTERIA!

The intelligence collecting value of a balloon at 60000 ft has to be close to zero compared to satellites. Balloon path is influenced by jet stream winds and can be modified only slightly by changing altitude. NOAA flies numerous high altitude balloon missions and recently Project Loon flew world wide balloons attempting to bring internet/wifi to remote locations.
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 15:39
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Originally Posted by meleagertoo
It would be illuminating, if not downright amusing for someone to explain just how Uncle Sam is supoosed to 'down' a balloon. Surveillance balloons tend to fly in the stratosphere way above the service cieling of most, if not all fighters which in any case are not equipped with any weapon that could credibly deflate a balloon. Perhaps a very close (feet away) supersonic pass might do the trick but you'd probably need an X15 or SR71 to get that high - if you were lucky and the balloon was low enough..
The U-2 might go high enough. Agree it would be difficult to down, it was difficult to shoot down WW1 German dirigibles and they were hydrogen filled. I wonder if this is hydrogen - way cheaper and easier to get than helium and provides greater lift.
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 15:41
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Looking at the photo, the payload and the solar panels alttached to it, it looks more like a weather observation balloon than a spy/camera one , which , anyway as many have stated already here, makes no real sense as satellites would do a better job, and a Sat can be moved to specific areas , unlike ballons which depends on high altitude winds. I have seen athmospheric weather ballons self destruct fail and ended up having huge diameters in hundreds of feet , passing thoug 30-40.000 ft , hence the warning we had ,and still going up . At one point , if the enevoppe is strong enough they would stop climbing and drift. No idea at which excact altitude there is no more wind. but I would say probably in the mesosphere i.e. above 150.000 ft , and once the baloon reached this it just becomes stationary , . Could be just that.. But if it was I think surely the Chinese would have said it already., so a bit of mystery. remains.

As to shooting it down , I know you Americans guys love to shoot at things , but how ? A helium gas ballon can go up to 170.000 ft , as far as I know the US only has a F-22 today that could go up to 70.000 ft max. , still a long way to go if the baloon is above 100.000 ft. Funny enough ,( just looked it upt) the last altitude world records , up to 120.000 ft are held by good old MIG 25s. .
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 16:41
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher
But if it was I think surely the Chinese would have said it already., so a bit of mystery. remains.

As to shooting it down , I know you Americans guys love to shoot at things , but how ? A helium gas ballon can go up to 170.000 ft , as far as I know the US only has a F-22 today that could go up to 70.000 ft max. , still a long way to go if the baloon is above 100.000 ft. Funny enough ,( just looked it upt) the last altitude world records , up to 120.000 ft are held by good old MIG 25s. .
The Chinese have claimed ownership as a “civilian” R&D asset.

All the way back in 1985, the U.S. demonstrated the capability to destroy a target hundreds of miles above Earth using a missile launched from an F-15. More recently, Operation Burnt Frost knocked down another satellite, using a ship-based missile defense system. And as I noted in another post, the Patriot system is available for altitudes up to around 80K ft. Ironically, all the U.S. air-defense and missile-defense systems are optimized for the technically-challenging fast-moving target. A balloon is certainly not that.
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 16:47
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Originally Posted by meleagertoo
It would be illuminating, if not downright amusing for someone to explain just how Uncle Sam is supoosed to 'down' a balloon. Surveillance balloons tend to fly in the stratosphere way above the service cieling of most, if not all fighters which in any case are not equipped with any weapon that could credibly deflate a balloon. Perhaps a very close (feet away) supersonic pass might do the trick but you'd probably need an X15 or SR71 to get that high - if you were lucky and the balloon was low enough..

They did destroy a satellite in orbit with an F-15 once, so not out of the question.
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 17:09
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Apparently China's latest 'explanation' is that it is a Met balloon, which was blown off course.
​​​​​​​The Chinese authorities say a surveillance balloon sighted over sensitive US territory is theirs, but insist its purpose is for weather research and that it was blown off course by unexpected winds.
Do they not understand irony?

Last edited by pilotmike; 3rd Feb 2023 at 19:19.
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 17:28
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Shooting down the satellite was the dumbest thing to do. Sure, it's nice to know you can, but the problem is once the big boys do it then everyone else needs to prove they can as well. But that ignores one huge glaring error.

It's not possible to shoot down a satellite.

The US didn't and no one else has. What the US proved was that they could turn a functioning and still useful satellite into about 50,000 tiny non-functioning satellites, the majority of which are likely still in orbit as a giant debris field. The Russians added their debris field and the Chinese did also, somewhat recently. My hope is that the better educated Indian military will finally go, "Yes, you cannot shoot a satellite down." and be satisfied with knowing that they can hit things with missiles and not need to prove they can hit a satellite also.

Sure, put a missile into an airplane and the airplane comes down; not so for satellites.
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 18:02
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Thanks BFSGrad for the explanation . I do not know how a Patriot missile finds its taget, but a balloon is stationary . made almost all of thin synthetic fabric and gas (Helium or Hydrogen) , the payload is rather small and it is not poducing any heat, so IR will be useless. But maybe it has contrast camera or laser detection.?
Just listened of the Pentagon briefing , did not say much other that it is apparently at 60.000ft, so much lower than I tought, and is able to manoeuvre , which kind of surprises me , up and down yes of course, but laterally ? .It was identified as a surveillance balloon . At one polint he said it was the size of 3 buses, but not saying if this is the payload or the balloon itself.
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 18:20
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Pentagon Briefing On Chinese Spy Balloon: "Does Not Pose A Risk To People On The Ground" | Video | RealClearPolitics

The balloon "has the ability to maneuver" and has "changed course," he explained. "Currently it does not pose a physical or military risk to people on the ground."
Doesn't sound much like a weather balloon.
I read elsewhere that the US doesn't want to shoot it down because they are gaining massive intelligence from their observations.
That being said, photos from 60k ft. could be much more revealing than a spy satellite 100+ miles up... There are several ICBM missile sites in and around Montana...
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 18:54
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher
Just listened of the Pentagon briefing, did not say much other that it is apparently at 60.000ft, so much lower than I thought, and is able to manoeuvre, which kind of surprises me, up and down yes of course, but laterally ?
How does it manoeuvre vertically ?

Is it a hot-air balloon ?
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 19:12
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Originally Posted by tdracer
Pentagon Briefing On Chinese Spy Balloon: "Does Not Pose A Risk To People On The Ground" | Video | RealClearPolitics



Doesn't sound much like a weather balloon.
I read elsewhere that the US doesn't want to shoot it down because they are gaining massive intelligence from their observations.
That being said, photos from 60k ft. could be much more revealing than a spy satellite 100+ miles up... There are several ICBM missile sites in and around Montana...
Sites that can be seen from a satellite every day of the year
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 19:45
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Isn’t likely to be a test of reactions and / or a middle finger rather than a serious spying operation?
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 19:49
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
How does it manoeuvre vertically ?

Is it a hot-air balloon ?
The old basic way : you release gas to go down , you release ballast ( used to be sand) to go up. Same technique as in the 19th century.. You can only do this a limited number of times though...
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 20:34
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That’s no balloon. It’s a space station…
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 20:35
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There are several ICBM missile sites in and around Montana...
... that can be quite easily photographed from the road!



​​​​​​​
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 20:46
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Originally Posted by India Four Two
... that can be quite easily photographed from the road!


...or from a drone. But cross that fence line, and you will be served a hot supper.
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 21:07
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher
The old basic way : you release gas to go down , you release ballast ( used to be sand) to go up. Same technique as in the 19th century.. You can only do this a limited number of times though...
Er, doesn't that normally rely on there being someone on board to do the necessary ?
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Old 3rd Feb 2023, 21:38
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Originally Posted by tubby linton
Sites that can be seen from a satellite every day of the year
But if you bothered to read the rest of my post "photos from 60k ft. could be much more revealing than a spy satellite 100+ miles up". Plus satellites can't 'linger'.
Now, why the Chinese would want or need such high-resolution photos, I have no idea. But given Montana is pretty much the definition of "nowhere", why would they maneuver to keep the balloon in that area for an extended period?
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