Spy Balloon History: Controversy has increased in America and China regarding spy balloons. The US military has shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon in the Atlantic Ocean. A campaign has been launched to recover all the equipment from its debris. While reacting strongly to this action on Sunday (February 5), China has threatened America of dire consequences. Amidst this deadlock in both the countries, there is a lot of discussion about the spy balloon. In such a situation, it is important to know what is a spy balloon and why is it used?
Experts say that surveillance balloons or spy balloons have a long history in espionage. These balloons are being used even in the satellite era. Through this, close-range i.e. close monitoring is done. Ian Boyd, professor of aerospace engineering science at the University of Colorado Boulder, told The Conversation news site that these balloons are very light and are filled with helium gas.
Spy Balloon Features
He said that advanced cameras are installed in it for espionage. Let’s launch them from the ground. Its biggest feature is that it can study an area for a long time. It is very difficult to monitor them from the ground. They can fly at a great height from the ground, so they are used to gather information related to the weather. He said that in the matter of espionage, these balloons prove to be better than satellites. Because they can scan an area more easily and for a longer time than satellites.
These balloons can take more clear photos
He told that overhead espionage is done through satellite. While balloons fly at almost the same height as flights fly. Usually, these balloons can take clearer photos than low orbit satellites. This is mostly due to the speed of such satellites, which complete one orbit of the earth in 90 minutes. Another type of satellite that is capable of moving in sync with the Earth can take multiple pictures of a location in a row. However, such satellites orbit away from the planet, so generally blurry photos come.
Surveillance balloons may also be able to collect electronic signals and intercept communications, according to Professor David Deroches of the National Defense University in Washington, DC. He said that the Chinese balloon was used to know what kind of track system was being used in America.
What did US officials say?
US officials said the Chinese balloon was the size of three school buses and entered the US air defense zone north of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska on 28 January. US officials have not given much information about the technology on the balloon. Although he has said that it was surveillance balloon. The balloon was assessed to have a motor and propeller, so that it could be operated. A senior defense official said that we think it wanted to monitor sensitive military sites.
History of the Spy Balloon
Surveillance balloons came into use in the 1800s. France used balloons for surveillance in 1859 during the Franco-Austrian War. Balloons were soon used again during the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865. Spy balloons became more common in World War I and II. The Japanese military used balloons to drop incendiary bombs on American territory. No military targets were damaged, but several civilians were killed when a balloon crashed in the Oregon woods.
Just after World War II, the US military began exploring the use of high-altitude spy balloons. According to government documents, photographic balloons were flown over the Soviet Bloc area in the 1950s.
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