According to officials, a recreational balloon that was spotted over the Western United States has exited American airspace.

According to officials, a recreational balloon that was spotted over the Western United States has exited American airspace.

On Saturday afternoon, CBS News was informed by the North American Aerospace Defense Command that the small balloon, used by hobbyists at high altitudes, has exited American airspace.

CBS News first reported that the military was tracking the balloon as it traversed the Western U.S. on Friday. NORAD, the military command responsible for air defense over the U.S. and Canada, later confirmed it had detected the object and said it was floating between 43,000 and 45,000 feet. Its presence prompted enough concern that the command sent aircraft to investigate. 

A U.S. government employee informed CBS News that the balloon was predicted to reach Georgia by Friday evening. The employee described the balloon as being composed of Mylar and having a small cube-shaped box, measuring approximately two feet on all sides, dangling beneath it.

A Chinese balloon equipped with advanced spying technology flew above the contiguous United States for a number of days.

The Chinese foreign ministry claimed

The purpose of the balloon was to gather weather information but it strayed significantly from its intended path due to strong winds. The U.S. military ended up taking it down near the coast of South Carolina on February 4, 2023, and retrieved the remains.

The surveillance balloon became a contentious issue for President Biden as he received backlash from Republicans for his choice to let it pass over the U.S. for almost a week before giving the order to take it down. Biden’s team stated that they waited until it was away from the shore to reduce the chance of harm to civilians below. However, legislators questioned why it wasn’t taken down when it was near Alaska’s coast, prior to entering U.S. airspace.

Though the Pentagon eventually concludedwere scrambled and sent to intercept the balloon.

The balloon’s failure to transmit data to China caused the U.S. military to be on high alert for any additional objects in American airspace. In response, fighter jets were immediately deployed to intercept the balloon.shot down

Multiple unknown objects were spotted in the skies above the United States and Canada in the subsequent weeks.

The armed forces were unable to locate any remnants of those items, and the investigation was terminated due to hazardous weather conditions. Mr. Biden stated that the unidentifiable objects were not thought to be linked to China’s surveillance balloon project.

The current evaluation by the intelligence community states that the three items in question are likely balloons belonging to private companies, used for recreational or research purposes such as studying weather or conducting scientific experiments. The president was informed of this assessment.said

The presence of a Chinese surveillance balloon caused a significant dispute between the U.S. and China, leading Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone his visit to Beijing in February 2023. However, he did ultimately make the trip in June in an attempt to ease mounting tensions over various matters, such as the balloon and China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea.

Eleanor Watson