If you happen to live in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin you have new eyes in the sky. The U.S. military is using a network of 25 solar-powered balloons to spy on the Midwest.
The FCC received a request through filing this week for a Special Temporary Authorization directly related to the balloons. The filing states the purpose of the balloons is to conduct high altitude MESH networking tests over South Dakota. The tests will provide a persistent surveillance system of possible narcotic trafficking. Theyadded some possible homeland security threats for good measure.
Digital Trends reports that the filing was completed by a defense company “Sierra Nevada Corporation.” It’s reported that the balloons will launch from South Dakota.
There’s obviously a lot of speculation as to the exact capabilities of these types of balloons. What seems to be documented is that they fly at around 65,000 feet. They can adjust location based on current and upcoming weather or just to get a better view. They can track multiple individuals or vehicles at any given time and can run during the day or night. As if that wasn’t all a little creepy enough, they run nearly silently.
They could always send them over to Wyoming to see what’s going on there?
These things aren’t full proof however. Back in 2015 during development one of these balloons caused a bit of trouble when it crashed around Baltimore. The $2.7 Billion program received a lot of flak at the time for being extremely unreliable at best. More recently they’ve been causing periodic issues, and freaking people out, on the southern border.
It looks like they may have worked out the kinks.
Tests over the Midwest had already started in early July and now, with an increased fleet, will continue into September. Prior to the filing the balloons did NOT have permission to monitor recordings, although they were in fact recording. Should the filing be approved by the appropriate Government agencies they can simply “rewind” to go over the footage.
Yes friends, the U.S. Government is using solar-powered balloons to spy on the Midwest. What a strange and weird world we live in. Also, it’s not exactly a huge surprise.
This being the Midwest though you have to wonder what that first report will look like:
“Day one: More Corn.”