On Friday, the United States and Canada halted searches for the remains of two of the three unidentified flying objects that were shot down after the Chinese balloon incident last week. It had practically already been ruled out that they posed a risk of any kind, and on Thursday an Illinois association that flies small weather balloons for amateur purposes said it believed one of the objects hit by the US Air Force was one of its own balloons.
The downed objects were small and ended up near an inaccessible coastal area of Alaska and in Lake Huron, between Canada and the United States, where recent weather conditions have complicated searches, a military official told New York. times. US National Security Council spokesman John F. Kirby on Tuesday said there were reasonable grounds to believe the three unidentified objects were not spy balloons, as opposed to the Chinese balloon, and President Joe Biden said they probably these were objects used for meteorological research purposes belonging to private companies and for this reason fewer resources were being used to try to recover them.
On Friday, responding to reporters’ questions about the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade, the association of balloon enthusiasts, and the hypothesis that one of the unidentified objects was one of their balloons, Kirby said: “It is very difficult to say without putting the hands”. The association said its balloon stopped signaling on Feb. 10, the same day the object was shot down over northern Alaska.
The search for the third downed object, the one that fell over the Yukon, which Canada is dealing with, is still ongoing.
It is likely that after the detection of the Chinese spy balloon, US air defense and radar systems were recalibrated to detect objects of the same type, i.e., slow-moving aircraft at high altitudes, or that radar experts have become more alert to their presence, while radar systems are usually optimized to detect incoming objects at high speed, such as missiles, and to ignore the signals of slow-moving flying objects such as balloons.