Chinese Spy Balloons We’ve Been Seeing Might Have Been Created With US Technology Stolen by the Chinese in 1967

Andrei Tapalaga
The Happe balloon being filled with helium before launch at the Chico, Calif., airport, 1967Photo byHistory of Yesterday

The 2023 Chinese balloon episode has caused quite a stir, not only in the political arena, but also in the general media. This episode has finally demonstrated that China will lie about practically any claim made by the United States administration. Although not very sophisticated technology for the time, the Chinese Spy Balloons were quite effective because they went undiscovered for a long period.

What is fascinating is that this technology is actually American, or far as records go, the first to put it into effect was Richard MullerRichard A. Muller is an American physicist and emeritus professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. He was also a famous scientist on the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory faculty. His years of research have earned him a strong reputation in the physics department.

He had recently published an article in the Wall Street Journal, in which he revealed how his long-forgotten experiment was utilized at least as inspiration by the Chinese for their spy balloons. The experiment's name, "HAPPE," is an acronym that stands for (High Altitude Particle Physics Experiment). in 1967 during an experiment entitled "HAPPE".

The initiative was created by American physicist and Nobel winner Luis Alvarez at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I joined the project as a graduate student. Happe's study aimed to exploit high-altitude cosmic rays, specifically high-energy protons that do not enter the Earth's atmosphere.

A large (300-foot-tall) helium-filled balloon would be required to hoist the massive Happe package over 95% of the proton-stopping atmosphere. The balloons are nearly uncontrollable.

The technology used at the time, in 1967, was cutting-edge. HAPPE was launched from the Chico, California airport in 1967 as part of Muller's Ph.D. research. Stratospheric winds carried the shipment west above the coastal mountains and over the Pacific.

The goal was to let the balloon collect data and continue flying until the station could no longer receive any signals from the balloon.

He and his team searched for the balloon near the Pacific Ocean's coast, but nothing was found. Some speculate that the balloon carrying the contraption crashed into the water at nearly 100 miles per hour, destroying everything. On the other hand, Muller speculates that his balloon may have ended up in China, explaining how the Chinese came to use such technology.

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