According to officials, the ‘boom’ in south Texas was a meteorite
Object that had unlawfully entered into the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Seaboard and was shot down by a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon, said Defense Minister Anand
“The object was flying at an altitude of approximately 40,000 feet, had unlawfully entered Canadian airspace and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight. The object was shot down approximately 100 miles from the Canada-United States border over Canadian territory in central Yukon,” she said.
Earlier this month, US military fighter jets shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon over the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Seaboard, defense officials said. The balloon from Montana was tracked all the way to the Carolinas by many Americans.
The object crossed into Canadian airspace and the monitoring proceeded with the help of the Canadian Air Force and other aircraft.
Size and shape: Early indications showed “this object is potentially similar” to the one shot down off the South Carolina coast, Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand said, adding that it was “smaller in size and cylindrical.”
US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau both approved the shoot down on Saturday, according to a statement from the White House.
Recovery effort: “Canadian Forces will now recover and analyze the wreckage of the object,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. The effort includes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian Special Operations Forces, with the FBI acting as a liaison.
Pilots gave different accounts of what they observed after coming near the object, a source briefed on the intelligence told CNN; some pilots said it “interfered with their sensors,” but other pilots said they didn’t experience that.
The object was flying at 40,000 feet, which made it a risk to civilian traffic. That set it apart from the Chinese surveillance balloon, which was traveling “well above commercial air traffic,” Ryder said at the time.
If it were to be shot down it was estimated to be 200 feet tall and weighed over a thousand pounds, posing a risk to the people and property on the ground.
Recovery effort: Some wreckage from the balloon was gathered from the Atlantic Ocean’s surface. The U.S. Northern Command said divers and remote-operated vehicles were used in the retrieval of additional debris from the sea floor. As the debris lands, the FBI takes it away.
Airborne Objects and Intelligence in the U.S.: After the February 21 Shootdown, Secretary of Homeland Security and Interior Secretary Pat Ryder
There was the first instance in which U.S. Northern Command had taken action against an airborne object.
The shootdowns came in steady succession over the weekend, after alarms were raised in early February over an object that the U.S. said was a surveillance balloon deployed by China.
“There is no – again, no — indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at Monday’s daily press briefing.
John Kirby, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, told reporters that “all manner of innocuous craft” can fly at the same altitudes. That includes planes used by companies and countries for purposes that are not criminal in nature.
The leading explanation among US intelligence officials is that three objects shot down over North America last weekend were balloons being flown for benign purposes, the White House said Tuesday, the furthest the administration has gone in describing the as-yet-unidentified crafts.
It can be attributed at least in part to increased scrutiny, including enhanced radar techniques, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs Melissa G. Dalton said on Sunday.
The U.S. has been on the alert to look for spy balloons and unauthorized objects since a Chinese balloon caused a national sensation and political outrage. That incident, Dalton said, also helped the U.S. learn more about what to look for in detecting similar objects. That process includes adjusting radar-filtering systems known as “gates,” VanHerck added.
“We have adjusted some of those gates to give us better fidelity on seeing smaller objects,” VanHerck said. “You can also filter out by altitude. And so, with some adjustments, we’ve been able to get a better a categorization of radar tracks now. You’re seeing these because of that.
Officials have been particularly sensitive to the inherently mysterious nature of the airborne objects, and how ripe the recent series of events was for conspiracy theories.
For instance, here’s Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. “We have no further details about the object at this time, including a description of its capabilities, purpose or origin,” said Gen. Pat Ryder from last Friday, talking about the shootdown.
“I haven’t ruled out anything,” he said. We are assessing all threats that approach North America with an attempt to identify them.
What we don’t know about the 4-shootdown of a man’s octagon with string hanging off a supercolliding balloon
“We call them objects for a reason,” VanHerck said. He explained that the initial incident involved a balloon. I am not able to categorize how they stay aloft. It could be a gaseous type of balloon inside a structure or it could be some type of a propulsion system. But clearly, they’re — they’re able to stay aloft.”
It’s location and altitude. The object soared near the eastern part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It was shot down east of the Upper Peninsula.
A senior Biden administration official said that it presented as an octagonal structure with strings hanging off but no discernable payload.
The North American Airborne Defense Command said it was a potential safety flight hazard but not a military threat.
Recovery effort: “Our team will now work to recover the object in an effort to learn more,” NORAD said. The location of the shoot down was chosen to limit the chance of people dying and to boost the chance of recovering debris.
The U.S. Northern Command said in a statement on Saturday that recovery activities were taking place on sea ice.
Towards a Conserved Debris Recovery from a Naval Air Cushion: Comments on a Geometrically Harmful High-Capacity Air Cushion
Size and shape: The balloon was estimated to be up to 200 feet tall. Of the payload, VanHerck said, “I would categorize that as a jet airliner type of size, maybe a regional jet,” with a weight of more than 2,000 pounds.
On Thursday morning, a U.S. Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion — basically a high-capacity hovercraft — parked on a beach to retrieve a range of supplies and food for the crew, from fresh produce to Chick-Fil-A and a birthday cake, local paper The Sun News has a story.
The White House sought to deflate speculation that objects could have originated from outer space or even a hostile state. A White House official suggested that they are likely to be harmless.
“The intelligence community’s considering as a leading explanation that these could just be balloons tied to some commercial or benign purpose,” John Kirby, the strategic communication coordinator at the National Security Council, said Tuesday.
After the senators had heard from the administration that the objects were not threatening, they were reassured.
Romney said, “there are a lot of things up in the air and we don’t know a lot of things.”
Since three objects were shot down from the sky over North America in recent days, administration officials have emphasized efforts to recover the debris and the hope that finding their remains will be able to shed important light on their nature.
So far, those efforts have been hampered by what he described as “pretty tough conditions,” exacerbated by the geographic challenges on Lake Huron, in the Yukon wilderness and on sea ice north of Alaska.
“Pretty tough weather conditions, let alone just geographically, just tough time of year,” Kirby said, noting that the Chinese spy balloon debris recovery off the coast of South Carolina earlier this month was also hampered by high seas in the Atlantic Ocean due to the time of year.
Airborne Devices: What Did Biden and His Top Military Brass Shoot Down During a White House Effort to Find?
Kirby said the government was relying instead on information and expertise from the Federal Aviation Administration and the intelligence community to glean what they could about the mysterious airborne devices.
The administration official said the government was leaning on the US intelligence community to assess the objects. Observations by US military pilots, as well as the objects’ flight patterns before they were shot down, are all being studied, the official said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday the search area in Yukon was a “fairly large area” in dense wilderness. Canadian officials were candid about the task of recovering the debris from high-altitude objects shot down.
We’re attempting to locate them but don’t know if we will. The terrain in the Yukon could pose some significant challenges to our recovery efforts, while the marine conditions are not favorable at the moment.
The White House press secretary statement about the US military not shooting down alien flying objects from outer space was absolutely correct in its assessment of the situation.
While the White House had a laugh at Jean-Pierre’s reference to aliens, they were not dealing with a laughing matter. Following the unprecedented move by the president to shoot down four objects in the course of roughly a week – starting with a Chinese spy balloon earlier this month – White House officials have been besieged by a torrent of incoming questions about those objects and what had prompted Biden and his top military brass to take them down.
There is risk with the lack of information that could cause a conspiracy, an official said.
In order to rule out the possibility of alien activity as quickly as possible, it was decided to make public the information about the downed objects, even though there wasn’t a lot to share with the public.
Administration officials continue to say that they aim to provide as much information as possible about the objects, but that the circumstances are not ideal for effective communication.
According to officials, the president has conceded that without a complete picture of what the objects were, his ability to communicate on them is limited and that he has expressed a desire to be as transparent as possible.
The situation was ripe for conspiracy theories and the congressman who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee said that it would be wise for Biden to address the public.
A meteorite strike in the U.S. during a flash in the South Texas sky over April 23, 2003, Rep. Mónica de la Cruz
A blast in the sky over South Texas was a meteorite strike, officials said, clearing up confusion over the sudden explosion that puzzled concerned residents.
Guerra wanted to assure people that meteorite strikes are not unusual and that the objects that were shot down in the US were all legitimate.
“It can frighten our residents, and we want to make sure that we give as much information to our residents to help them feel safe and secure here in our local community,” said US Rep. Mónica de la Cruz, who represents the area.