Suspected Chinese spy balloon flying over the US

The suspected Chinese surveillance balloon is flying about 60,000 feet above the United States, according to Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder.

To put that in perspective, that’s in the stratosphere, about 18,000 feet higher than where commercial airplanes fly.

Here’s a look at how that compares to other things in the sky:

What else we know about the balloon: The US Defense Department knows the suspected surveillance balloon floating over the northern US “has the ability to maneuver,” Ryder said. He did not specify how, but did say Friday the balloon “has changed its course which, again, is why we’re monitoring it.”

In terms of size, Ryder said the balloon is big enough that officials are worried about potential debris possibly hurting people on the ground if the US were to shoot it down.

“In terms of the size, I’m not able to get into the specifics other than to say that it is big enough that, again, in reviewing our approach, we do recognize that any potential debris field would be significant and potentially cause civilian injuries or deaths, or significant property damage,” Ryder said Friday.

Pentagon officials said they expect it to continue to pass over the US for the next couple days.

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