Chinese Balloon Inspiration?

SCEMan

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chillinn

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Only the dead have seen the end of war.
— Santayana, George: Soliloquies in England, Scribner's, 1922, p. 102.
 

idleprocess

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Why use a balloon?
  • Optics: 12 miles in the stratosphere is a simpler problem to solve than the >99 miles of low earth orbit. Less haze/thermal gradients to peer through and you can gather markedly more light with the same size objective.
  • SIGINT: Similar to optics, closer proximity simplifies reception of radio signals
Also, for the cost of a large balloon America sure got bent out of shape for about a week and the Chinese got to observe the reaction of both the intelligence and defense establishment. I wouldn't bet against the balloon's communications being jammed - or the thing being neutralized electronically - about time it crossed into our airspace well before it got into the news. And since it was seen coming some ways off odds are that targets within its path covered up or went silent or obfuscated themselves well in advance of its arrival.
 
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