China Threat  ·   Geopolitics  ·   News

The Chinese Spy Balloon Timeline and What It Saw

Politico has broken down the timeline of the Chinese Spy Balloon and its journey across the United States. Below is the breakdown of timing and location from Politico, coupled with information about what the spy balloon saw as it made it’s way across our democratic country.

Saturday, Jan. 28:
Where it was — The balloon is first detected over U.S. airspace high over Alaska, north of the Aleutian Islands. The military’s North American Aerospace Defense Command closely tracks the balloon, assessing it poses no threat or intelligence risk.

What it saw — The Alaska skies cover 9 U.S. military bases from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army. These 9 military installations cover activities such as refeuling operations, combat teams, and F-16s. Fort Greeley can intercept and destroy incoming missiles. China gathered intel on all of these operations.

Monday, Jan. 30:
Where it was — NORAD tracks the balloon as it travels into Canadian airspace. Officials determine it is used for spying, as it carries surveillance equipment including a collection pod and solar panels located on the metal truss suspended below the balloon. Based on its small motors and propellers, officials also assess it can be actively maneuvered to fly over specific locations.

The balloon is part of a Chinese fleet developed for spying, which over the past few years have been spotted over countries across five continents, including Asia and Europe. Balloons were observed over the United States three times in the Trump administration, and once before at the beginning of the Biden administration. What makes this new encounter different was the long duration over the continent.

What it saw — The Chinese spy balloon maneuvered across Canada and worked on dropping down into Montana, home to some of the United States nuclear silos.

Tuesday, Jan. 31:
Where it was — The balloon re-enters U.S. airspace over northern Idaho. The Pentagon begins working to keep the balloon from collecting sensitive information from sites on the ground. This was “straightforward,” a senior administration official said, “because we could track the exact path of the balloon and ensure no activities or sensitive unencrypted comms would be conducted in its vicinity.”

What it saw — The Chinese spy balloon was likely able to gather intel related from Mountain Home Air Base, the home of a cohesive strike force between the F-15C Eagles and the F-15E Strike Eagles.

Wednesday, Feb. 1:
Where it was — Pentagon officials are alarmed as the balloon makes its way over Montana, which is home to Malmstrom Air Force Base, one of three sites that operate and maintain the nation’s silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles.

What it saw — The Chinese spy balloon was likely able to gather pertinent data and intel on the United States ICBM operations.

Thursday, Feb. 2:
Where it was — The Pentagon issues a statement that a high-altitude Chinese surveillance balloon has entered U.S. airspace. Lawmakers call for briefings and begin criticizing Biden for not shooting it down. Reports emerge of a second balloon observed flying over Central and South America. Blinken cancels his trip to China.

What it saw — the balloon continued to fly over the United States and collect important military data.

Friday, Feb. 3
Where it was — The Chinese Foreign Ministry releases a statement acknowledging the balloon is Chinese but claims it’s a civilian airship used to collect weather data. U.S. officials say the balloon is clearly used for surveillance and the breach is a clear violation of U.S. sovereignty.

What it saw — As the balloon flies over the Midwest, it begins to make its way to the Carolinas, collecting more and more data as it goes.

Saturday, Feb. 4:
Where it was — In the morning, Biden speaks with Austin and Sullivan multiple times about the mission. Later, Biden pledges “we’re going to take care of it” when asked about the balloon during a stop in Syracuse, New York. He flashes a thumbs up to reporters when asked if the military was going to shoot it down, as he boards Air Force One at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in New York.

The FAA temporarily grounds flights at airports in Wilmington and in Myrtle Beach and Charleston, South Carolina. This allows the military aircraft — an F-22 stealth fighter from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, F-15s from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts and tanker aircraft from multiple locations — to get into position.

At 2:39 pm, the F-22 flying at 58,000 feet shoots a single AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile that takes down the balloon, which is flying at an altitude of 60,000 to 65,000 feet. The military begins efforts to recover the balloon, which fell six nautical miles off the coast in an estimated 47 feet of water. The amphibious ship USS Carter Hall, destroyer USS Oscar Austin and cruiser Philippine Sea are in the area to aid with recovery. Navy divers are in position to descend to the site if needed.

Once the balloon is recovered, the intelligence community will begin efforts to further analyze the balloon.

What it saw — the Chinese balloon hovered over South Carolina before it was shot down over the Atlantic Ocean. South Carolina is rich in military bases that represent the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Corps. More data was collected above these military installations before missiles shot the balloon out of the sky.

Politico contributed to this report.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 months ago

S­t­a­r­t w­o­r­k­i­n­g f­r­o­m h­o­m­e! G­r­e­a­t w­o­r­k f­o­r-E­v­er, ­S­t­a­y a­t H­o­m­e M­o­m­s O­R a­n­y­o­n­e n­e­e­d­s­ a­n e­x­t­r­a i­n­c­o­m­e. G­e­t s­t­a­r­t­e­d. Y­o­u o­n­l­y n­e­e­d­ a computer a­n­d a reliable c­o­m­p­u­t­e­r c­o­n­n­e­c­t­i­o­n­ s­o d­o­n’t g­e­t l­a­t­e t­r­y.

Read about it————————– >>>

3 months ago

Why would the chinese want to know about the weather in the US? And if it was civilian ‘owned’ what concern would it be for their government?


[…] The Chinese Spy Balloon Timeline and What It Saw […]