Chinese Spy Balloon

Gabe Rentfrow, MVC writer

On Saturday, February 4, a suspected Chinese spy balloon was shot down over American airspace.
The balloon was launched unknown to either government from China’s airspace from Hainan Island by the People’s Liberation Army with the intent of flying over the U.S. territory of Guam. About 1000 miles south from Japan, it began to gain speed, moving north due to a strong cold front.
The balloon entered U.S airspace off Alaska on January 28, going through Canada and re-entering U.S airspace around Idaho on January 31.
The next day the balloon was spotted by several civilians over Montana and completely stopped air traffic in Billings, Montana.
Once the Billings airport notified officials of the anomaly in the sky, officials considered shooting it down, and later took it out with a F-22 Raptor from the First Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. They managed to shoot it down with an AIM-9X Sidewinder missile over a lake in Montana.
After hearing about this incident, Chinese officials created the story of a wayward weather balloon, later saying that they only said this because they needed a cover story while they tried to find where the balloon came from. After that, they also stated that the United States had sent over ten spy balloons to China.
After bringing up the wreckage, the US found several pieces of debris from the balloon, but nothing notable.The wreckage was later sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation laboratory in Virginia for counterintelligence.