PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…. a scientific research balloon.
Dozens of people called the KOIN 6 Newsroom after noticing an object floating through the sky Wednesday morning and thoughts jumped to all sorts of conclusions, including aliens or a Chinese Spy Balloon.
The truth however is far more mundane, it is a scientific balloon.
According to Near Space Corporation president Kevin Tucker, they launched the balloon early Wednesday morning.
Near Space Corporation has been operating out of Tillamook since 1996 and according to their website, they are “a commercial provider of high altitude/near space platforms and flight services for government, academic and commercial customers.”
According to Tucker, the launch was for a NASA project and done in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration.
While flying at 100,000 feet, the wind took the balloon east over Forest Grove and it is now headed back west. Tucker said they will recover the balloon today.
KOIN 6 Meteorologist Josh Cozart shared that he wasn’t surprised to learn it was a research balloon and said that it makes sense why the balloon would float from Tillamook to Portland.
“In that regard, I’m not surprised that it’s not moving much because the winds across the area are so calm this morning,” Cozart said. “That’s due to a stable air mass sitting over the Pacific Northwest. If the balloon did come from Tillamook, then the slight westerly flow that we’re seeing up in elevation would push the balloon from Tillamook to Portland this morning.”