Marfa, Texas: Border Patrol Blimp

A semi-stationary blimp, sent aloft while tethered to a circular track. The TARS (Tethered Aerostat Radar System) watches for border crosser activity.
Address:
US Hwy 90, Marfa, TX
Directions:
On the southwest side of US Hwy 90, either 15 miles east of Valentine or 20 miles west of Marfa. Visible from the highway, but signs warn to keep away!
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Visitor Tips and News About Border Patrol Blimp

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TARS blimp.

Mysterious Blimp

Just caught the blimp in action. It is called TARS and is used for aircraft surveillance by the border patrol. No more mystery

[Brad, 01/01/2019]

Blimp.

Tethered Aerostat Radar Balloon

Traveling along Texas 90, between Marfa and Van Horn, is a Zeppelin-shaped white balloon attached to the ground. It wasn't until I passed it later in the day, looking in my rear view mirror, that I saw it aloft. The balloon is used to locate low-flying aircraft coming across the border, presumably with illegal drugs (Drug traffickers use slow, low-flying airplanes to avoid detection). The balloon is only aloft when weather permits.

Apparently, there are other such balloons in border areas and the southwest. There was a dramatic decrease in the amount of airborne drug traffic since the first Southwest border balloon went up above Fort Huachuca, Arizona, in 1987.

[Brian Berkun, 04/09/2015]
Marfa TX Air Force Blimp

This is an Air Force station with a semi-stationary blimp that is sent aloft while tethered to a circular track. Not sure what its mission is but it is a weird site to see in the middle of nowhere. [Rick Kincaid, 01/19/2014]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Giant MarfaGiant Marfa, Marfa, TX - 15 mi.
Prada MarfaPrada Marfa, Valentine, TX - 17 mi.
Rattlers and ReptilesRattlers and Reptiles, Fort Davis, TX - 28 mi.
In the region:
Ghost Town Where The Andromeda Strain was Filmed, Shafter, TX - 43 mi.

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January 23, 2019

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