Did you see that big balloon over Petworth?

On Friday, my daughter comes home from school and runs into the house, "Daddy! Daddy, come quick. This is serious. This is cool, you have to come see!"

What the what is that?

It looked like a huge white balloon floating high above the neighborhood, with a red flag or banner attached, and with a line with flags on it, going down to the ground.

So we walked down to New Hampshire Avenue, and found that the balloon was tied to this truck:

Being the curious sort who's also not shy, I walked over to ask ... what the hell is that? (Ok, I said it much nicer.)

The truck was staffed by two gentlemen, who seemed amused at the questions we were asking.

They work for a company called AirPhotosLive, but in this case, according to one of the men, they weren't taking photos. He said they were working on a Department of Defense project testing and tracking signals in the 1700MHz range, with several other vehicles around the area. The other fellow said "It's like mapping, but not really."

While he wouldn't tell me what the payload below the balloon was ("It's proprietary equipment that we built," he said.), he did say the DoD was paying them "a lot of money to do some work." Then they reeled in the balloon, to the delight of the kids that were with us. 


Also, I'll point out that the fellow could have been having fun with me, and they were just taking photos. I'm gonna go with "DoD conspiracy theory." Much more fun.