The United States Department of Defense said on Thursday, February 2, it had detected and was tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon in US airspace.
The Pentagon said the balloon was traveling well above commercial air traffic and did not "present a military or physical threat to people on the ground.
“Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years,” the Pentagon said. “Once the balloon was detected, the [US] government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information.”
According to an Associated Press report, “One of the places the balloon was spotted was Montana, which is home to one of the nation’s three nuclear missile silo fields at Malmstrom Air Force Base.”
Storyful could not independently verify the object. Credit: Chase Doak via Storyful
CHASE DOAK: Well, hello, everybody. I am sitting in my driveway here in Billings, Montana. And right now, there is a ground stop on our airport. And this thing is up in the sky. And I have no idea what it is.
It's been there stationary for about the last 35 minutes. It's about 5:30 on Wednesday, February 1st, 2023. I have no idea what this thing is. I hope it's in focus. I'm shooting at it with about a 500 millimeter lens with a 2 times tele-converter on it, so this is at about 1,000 millimeters right now.
And for those of you who think this might just be the moon, it is not the moon. The moon is off to my right. I can see it. This is significantly smaller than the moon.
All right, again, for those of you who might think this thing is the moon, there's the thing and-- whoa-- there's the moon. It's not the moon.