US Senators Propose Law to Track High-Altitude Balloons

    US Senators Propose Law to Track High-Altitude Balloons
    Last updated Mar 15, 2023
    Image credit: fox


    • US Senators Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Ted Budd (R-N.C.) on Wednesday introduced a bill intended to help the US better track objects in its airspace and differentiate potential threats from non-threats.[1]
    • The "Seeing Objects at Altitude Regularly" (SOAR) Act would require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to require all balloons flying higher than 10K feet to have a tracking system to identify their altitude, identity, and location.[2]
    • The bill defines anything that flies above 10K feet as a high-altitude balloon.[2]
    • The FAA would also be required to work with the International Civil Aviation Organization — a UN agency meant to coordinate international cooperation over airspace — to establish similar standards for high-altitude balloons launched from other countries.[3]
    • This legislation comes after the US shot down a Chinese balloon off the coast of South Carolina earlier this year. China has maintained that the object was a weather balloon.[3]
    • Not long after that, the US shot down several other objects that Pres. Biden said were probably the property of private companies or individuals using them for recreation.[3]


    Narrative A

    This bipartisan bill will keep the US safer while making it easier to determine if there are threatening objects flying overhead. In the long run, this legislation will save the country millions of dollars compared to using military jets to shoot down unidentified objects at, literally, hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop.

    Narrative B

    If the Biden administration wants to make sure it’s keeping the US safe while assuring its citizens they’re not in danger, it wouldn’t wait for this bill to pass to become more transparent about what it shot out of the skies earlier this year. These were unprecedented actions, and no information from these incidents should be classified because everyone has a right to know what was going on.

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