The White House Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said Friday afternoon that the military shot down an object flying 40,000 feet above Alaskan airspace earlier in the day.
It is unknown who the object belongs to but was not manned, Kirby said. President Joe Biden ordered the shootdown this morning, Kirby said.
"We don't have any information that would confirm a stated purpose for this object. We do expect to be able to recover the debris since it fell not only within our territorial space," Kirby said.
The object was flying near the coast of northeast Alaska, not far from the Canadian border, Kirby said.
He said the debris field from the object shot down over Alaska had a much smaller debris field.
This object was much smaller than the spy balloon U.S. military shot down off the South Carolina coast last week. He said the object shot down over Alaska was about the size of a small car.
U.S. officials said the balloon shot down last week off the Carolina coast was believed to be a Chinese spy balloon.
Kirby said the object shot down on Friday posed a reasonable threat to civilian flight safety, given its altitude. The Pentagon said the balloon shot down last week flew at a much higher altitude, thus not posing a threat to flights.