Image: Shutterstock - Naeblys

The Chinese balloon that was first spotted wafting across the Montana countryside was downed off the South Carolina shore on the weekend.

Why it was serenely floating in American skies is still unexplained, as the Chinese say it was just a weather balloon. But the timing meant that Secretary of State Blinken cancelled his much needed trip to China; one which China had been keen to encourage.

At 200 feet high it was quite big, had solar panels and tonnes of electronic gear, and balloons are able to surveille RF transmissions amongst other things – so was it a rogue or on a planned information collecting mission?

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