HILO, Hawaii (KHON2) — Over the last few years, people living in the U.S. have witnessed lots of balloons in the air that have raised concerns over national security and safety.
In an effort to allay concerns over balloons that will be seen over Hawai’i, Mayor Mitch D. Roth of Hawai’i Island announced on Wednesday, March 22, that Sierra Nevada Corporation and World View are launching their own balloons over the island.
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The balloons are two stratospheric balloons, and they will be launched near Waimea between March 23 and March 25.
Both balloons are uncrewed stratospheric balloons that are demonstrating stratospheric communication capabilities.
The balloons will begin their 4,000 nautical mile journey from Hawai’i and will travel over the course of approximately 60 days
They will travel at 70,000-90,000 feet across the Pacific Ocean and will land on the east coast of the U.S., where a Recovery Team will safely recover the balloons and all related components.
The balloons will be viewable for about 48 hours from Hawai’i before they begin their trek to the mainland U.S.
It was recently reported that the Chinese balloon that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina was part of a larger surveillance program that China has allegedly been conducting for several years.
Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said that similar balloons passed over the U.S. territory on four occasions during Trump’s administration but that the U.S. did not immediately identify them.
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He added that subsequent intelligence analysis provided confirmation that the balloons were a part of a Chinese spying effort.