A group of amateur enthusiasts of the balloons in Illinois may have solved the mystery of one of the unknown flying objects shot down by the U.S. Army, a saga that astonished the whole world.
The ‘Northern Illinois Balloon Brigade’ says one of its craft “went missing in action” over Alaska on February 11, the same day a U.S. F-22 aircraft shot down an unidentified airborne entity not far over Canada’s Yukon Territory.
Theory on this subject.
In a blog post, the group did not link the two events. But the trajectory of the picoglobe before its last electronic verification recorded at 12:48 a.m. that day suggests a connection, as well as a fiery demise at the hands of a missile sidewinder on the 124th day of his voyage, three days before he was set to complete his seventh circumnavigation.
If that is what happened, it would mean that the U.S. military spent a missile costing $439,000 to shoot down a balloon hobby balloon with a value of about $12.
The membership of the Illinois Brigade is a “small group of enthusiasts for the picoglobes” which has been operating since June 2021, according to its website. They contain trackers, solar panels and antenna packages that are lighter than a small bird, and the balloons Are filled with less than one cubic foot of gas. According to Aviation Weekare small hobby balloons that cost around $12 and allow enthusiasts to combine their interests in balloons high altitude hot air ballooning and amateur radio in an affordable way.
“For now we are calling the picoglobe K9YO missing in action,” says the group’s website, noting that its last recorded altitude was 11,560 meters while near Hagemeister Island, a 300-square-kilometer land mass off the north coast of Bristol Bay.
The object over Yukon was the second of three shot down on Joe Biden’s orders in successive days after a balloon Chinese spy balloon, a fourth separate object, was shot down over the Atlantic after crossing the South Carolina coast on February 4.
Nothing official yet
U.S. officials said during the week that the three objects shot down after the destruction of the balloon Chinese spies were probably benign and probably had commercial purposes or were related to climate research.
“Nothing at this time suggests that they were related to the program of balloons China’s spy or that they were surveillance vehicles of any other country,” President Biden said.
He said they were eliminated because authorities felt they posed a threat to aviation, although some observers say the shoot-downs were an overreaction amid political pressure over the discovery of the balloon Chinese.
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