Second aerostat craft launched to test military missile-detecting radar system

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A second blimp-like craft used by the military to test a cruise missile-detecting radar system was launched over the skies of Baltimore County, officials say. The second NORAD aerostat was launched from Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland in late August 2015.

The craft is identical to the first aerostat that was launched in December 2014.

Part of the "Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor" system, the NORAD aerostats are filled with helium and keep the radar systems afloat.

The crafts are tethered to the ground and are kept at about 10,000 feet.

The radar systems can detect cruise missile threats in an area that ranges from upstate New York to south of Norfolk, Virginia.

After the three-year evaluation period, the Army hopes to integrate the technology into existing North American Aerospace Defense Command systems that protect airspace over parts of the East Coast that include New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

Officials have stated that the aerostats do not carry weapons, cameras or video equipment and cannot detect people.