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A U.S. Air Force pilot looked down at the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon as it hovered over the Central Continental United States on Feb. 3. The pair was flying over Bellflower, Mo. Department of Defense hide caption

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Department of Defense

The Pentagon's multi-billion-dollar program to develop advanced missile warning balloons is just one of many projects over the decades that has been sabotaged by a gusty breeze. Patrick Semansky/AP hide caption

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Patrick Semansky/AP

Militaries have sought to use spy balloons for centuries. The real enemy is the wind

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Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., speaks to reporters after the Senate classified briefing on the three unidentified objects shot down by the U.S. military over Alaska, Canada and Lake Huron, in the Capitol on Tuesday. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images hide caption

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Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images