Chinese Spy Balloon had a “Self-Destruct” ability that didn’t activate: report

The Chinese spy balloon, which was eventually shot down over the Atlantic on February 4 after sailing over the continental US, appeared to have been blown off course and had a “self-destruct” function that did not activate before it reached Alaska, according to a new one report from the New York Times. It’s not immediately clear what would have enabled the balloon to self-destruct, or whether that ability would have posed a hazard to anyone on the ground if it had done so over US airspace.

The balloon, one of four objects shot down over the US and Canada in the past two weeks, was used by China to spy on Hawaii and Guam territory, according to senior defense officials who spoke to the Just. However, the spy balloon is believed to have blown off course over the Pacific Ocean, sending it to Alaska before flying to Canada and then down through Montana, where it was first spotted by civilians above Billings.

“It was almost three days after the public crisis surrounding the balloon erupted for Chinese officials to tell US colleagues that the balloon’s controllers were attempting to accelerate it out of American airspace in an apparent attempt to defuse tensions, which stunned Biden administration officials and demonstrated how badly Beijing misunderstood the United States,” the report said Just explained.

According to the new report, U.S. officials don’t know whether the balloon’s Chinese operators attempted to activate the balloon’s self-destruct function and failed, or whether they simply intended to save the balloon for further surveillance on its new course, the in said the new report. In any case, communication about the balloon from China was lacking, to say the least, sparking a media frenzy for the whole world to witness.

The balloon was apparently launched from Hainan Island, the country’s southernmost point, in late January, and the US government had been tracking it ever since it was launched — a detail only revealed in a new report by the US government Washington Post on Tuesday.

The Chinese government has previously denied the balloon was used for surveillance, saying the US has flown balloons into its airspace without permission 10 times since early 2022. But US defense officials still seem confused as to who actually piloted the spy balloon that crossed the US, speculating it may be a civilian-run company linked to the People’s Liberation Army. Or, that’s just what they say Just at this point.

What about the three other balloons that were shot down, including one in northern Alaska, another in Canada’s Yukon, and another over Lake Huron near Michigan?

“US officials said they are still trying to reach a definitive conclusion as to what the objects were and do not believe they will reach one until more debris is collected,” the statement said Just reports.

“Some senior officials said that based on preliminary work, they believe the three objects were likely designed for scientific or weather research and have ceased to function, becoming a type of airborne junk,” the report continues.

Weather balloons that are basically just floating junk? Good thing we blew those out of the sky.

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