|Aerostar helium balloon photo by Aerostar|
Surveillance Balloons Over Winnemucca, Navajo and Hopi Lands
By Brenda Norrell, Censored News, Monday, August 21, 2023WINNEMUCCA, Nevada -- A surveillance balloon was over Winnemucca today at 1:30 a.m., the same day that Paiute Shoshone announced that they asked the Nevada court to dismiss charges filed by Lithium Americas against those defending the Paiute Massacre Site at Peehee Mu'huh, Thacker Pass.
The surveillance balloon over Winnemucca shows no registered owner.
|(Above) HBAL649 over Winnemucca today as shown on Flightradar24. Screenshot by Censored News.|
A second balloon has spent the past week passing over Indian country. It is registered to Aerostar, which has a military contract for surveillance and intelligence.
This balloon floated across Oklahoma, then north of Acoma Pueblo, before floating across Navajo and Hopi lands in the Black Mesa area. It then crossed above the Grand Canyon and is now above Shoshone lands near Elko, Nevada.
Aerostar, based in a rural area near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, says balloons are better for surveillance than drones, which fly lower, and better than satellites, which fly higher, move faster and are more expensive.
Aerostar says on its website it offers "persistent surveillance."
"Our lighter-than-air platforms have helped NASA, Google, the U.S. Air Force, and many other customers achieve and exceed dynamic missions, including communications, data relay, surveillance, intelligence, and more," Aerostar said.
Aerostar received a contract from the Department of Defense in July 2023 (contract number FA868423-D-B116), bundled in a massive military contract for innovative new technologies.
(Below) The path of Aerostar's surveillance balloon from north of Hopi land on the Navajo Nation, over the Black Mesa area, is shown. It then crossed over the Grand Canyon region and traveled to Nevada, where it is currently. The surveillance balloon, HBAL 653, was shown earlier crossing Oklahoma and then north of Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico. It is registered to Aerostar.
|Screenshot by Censored News|
Aerostar's use of the balloons comes after Google canceled plans to use those for rural internet.
In September of 2021, Google discontinued its use of balloons in the Loon Project which was to deliver internet. Raven Aerostar of Sioux Falls acquired the intellectual property of the balloons, Sioux Falls Business reported.