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Budd, Kelly Bill to Track High-Altitude Balloons Set to Become Law

Washington, D.C. — Today, Senators Ted Budd (R-NC) and Mark Kelly’s (D-AZ) ‘Seeing Objects at Altitude Regularly’ (SOAR) Act passed the House of Representatives as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act. After the Senate passed the FAA Reauthorization last week, the package is now poised to be signed into law.

The bill was originally introduced after the federal government’s response to four unknown aerial objects over North America, including a Chinese surveillance balloon, which were shot down by U.S. fighter jets.

The bill requires the FAA to issue new regulations to require that all high-altitude balloons operating 18,000 feet above sea level be equipped with a tracking system that will transmit the balloon’s altitude, identity, and location.

Sen. Budd said in a statement:

“In order to better protect America’s skies, we must improve how we track and identify objects flying over U.S. airspace. That is exactly what the SOAR Act will do. I am pleased that Senator Kelly and I were able to get this important piece of legislation included in the FAA Reauthorization bill and that it will soon be law.”

Sen. Kelly said:

“As a former Navy combat pilot, I know well the importance of protecting our nation’s airspace. I’m thrilled that this bipartisan effort will soon become law and strengthen our national security by equipping our military with the necessary tools to identify and respond to potential threats swiftly and effectively, making our skies safer.”


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