'We honestly have no explanation': Officials initially stumped by floating objects in Kansas City

Objects turned out to be balloons
Posted at 6:36 AM, Jun 21, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Strange objects invaded the afternoon sky high above the Kansas City on Thursday.

Was it a bird?

Was it a plane?

Was it Superman?

Or *gulp* the staging of an alien invasion?

Even the National Weather Service was stumped initially.

Nope, it’s probably just a couple really big balloons — according to Jared Adams, who is the Chiefs of Communications for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA.

“Given the location, it is likely a balloon in a flight test for the … Adaptable Lighter Than Air program,” Adams said Thursday in an email.

Three balloons were launched Monday from Cumberland, Maryland, as part of the ALTA program .

"The goal of the Adaptable Lighter Than Air (ALTA) program is to develop and demonstrate a high altitude lighter-than-air vehicle capable of wind-borne navigation over extended ranges," according to the DARPA website. "The balloons can fly at altitudes of more than 75,000 feet. While they do not have independent propulsion, the ALTA vehicle is designed to navigate by changing altitude and thus taking advantage of different wind profiles aloft. A state-of-the-art Winds Aloft Sensor (WAS) is also being developed on the program, which is intended to provide real time stratospheric wind measurements."

This story was originally published by Tod Palmer on KSHB in Kansas City.