Senators Want Better Tracking in US Airspace

Senators Want Better Tracking In US Airspace

( – In February, the US government revealed it was tracking a Chinese spy balloon that had been traveling across the country for days. Eventually, the military shot the massive balloon down, but not before it flew over a number of sensitive sites. Lawmakers have now responded with new legislation.

On Wednesday, March 15, Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Ted Budd (R-NC) introduced the Seeing Objects at Altitude Regularly (SOAR) Act. The legislation would require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to issue new regulations on high-altitude balloons. Tracking systems would become mandatory for 10,000 feet above sea level. The tracker would have to provide the identity, altitude, and location of the balloon.

The legislation also requires the FAA to work with the International Civil Aviation Organization to create similar standards for high-altitude balloons for the rest of the world.

According to a statement from Budd, the Chinese spy balloon incident “highlights the immediate need for the FAA to re-evaluate” how flying objects are tracked across the US. He went on to say it’s a “matter of national security.”

Senator Kelly joined Budd’s press release, saying America’s enemies are “using hostile surveillance tactics” and there isn’t any reason why the government shouldn’t have the necessary information about an object in its airspace.

After the US shot down the Chinese spy balloon, the military also shot down several other flying objects. In every case, the government had no idea what the objects were or where they came from. Instead, they had to get them out of the sky, then go and retrieve the objects to ensure they did not pose a threat.

Later, the government stated that some of them were flying at low altitudes in airspace, potentially posing a risk to airplanes. As for the spy balloon, the Chinese government claimed the balloon belonged to civilians.

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