Balloon Kerfluffle Redux

Rusty Moore, K1FVK, writes on the Sci-Tech ARS mailing listL

We just passed the one year anniversary of the great 2023 balloon turkey-shoot, during which the USAF downed a Chinese spy balloon plus three small unidentified balloons, one of which was almost certainly K9YO-15, a radio-equipped pico balloon flown by the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade. Today the press reported that NORAD is currently tracking another small unidentified balloon, but has determined that it poses no threat to national security. As soon as I heard about this I did a quick check of SondeHub and whatddaya know, there’s K9YO-7 on the same track, over the same area, and at the same altitude as the mysterious unidentified balloon everyone is talking about. The media reports characterize it as a small Mylar balloon, about 50 feet tall (which I take to be the estimated overall height from payload to top of balloon), with a 2-foot square box hanging underneath. None of the news stories I saw mentioned anything about the K9YO balloon’s presence, or about the existence of amateur balloons in general. Surely NORAD would be checking the amateur ballooning maps, wouldn’t they? For that matter, so should serious news teams. Journalism ain’t what it used to be.

CBS News report on the balloon:


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