In February 2001, the CEFAA started investigating on reports received from the air traffic controllers in Calama airdrome and from the pilots who were flying over the area.
The reports dealt with a UFO moving at a great altitude (more than 50.000 feet) from East to West, at 2 p.m. UTC, on February 16 between a 100 and 200 km/hour speed. The phenomenon was visible for about 30 minutes.
The fact became breaking news on TV channels and caused great expectations. Once the investigation was carried out, analyzing all the evidences available, it could be proven that it was a sounding balloon launched by the “Service d’Aéronomie of CNRS”, of France, in coordination with Brazil for the study of high earth’s atmosphere.
In 1977, this French organization came up with the idea of using sounding balloon to study high atmosphere. This balloon was made as a hot air balloon of 40.000m3, warmed up during daylight by the radioactive flow of the sun heat and during the night by the flow of infrared rays emanating from the earth.
The balloon was launched from the town of Bauru, in the north of Brazil, on February 15, 2001 and flew over the city of Calama on February 16 alerting those who witnessed the fact.
The corresponding trajectory of the sounding balloon, which was followed by the wind circulation system matches the document sent by the French organization and is corroborated by Brazil.