Craft float near the U.S. border, study the weather and monitor oil pipelines
American military and civilian agencies have flown balloons over the U.S. for a growing range of national-security applications, scientific research, intelligence collection and commercial uses, according to industry experts, former officials and government documents.
Less known is the extent to which the U.S. has floated balloons over foreign countries, though there are examples in history. In the 1950s during the Cold War, the U.S. flew balloons outfitted with cameras over Soviet airspace, an operation sometimes referred to as Project Moby Dick, before later switching to U-2 spy planes.
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