Poppy (satellite)

Poppy (satellite)
POPPY 2 satellite (multiface design)

POPPY is the code name given to a series of U.S. intelligence satellites operated by the National Reconnaissance Office. The POPPY satellites recorded ELINT data, targeting radar installations in the Soviet Union and Soviet naval ships at sea.[1]

The POPPY program was a continuation within NRO's Program C of the Naval Research Laboratory's Galactic Radiation and Background (GRAB) ELINT program, also known as Tattletale. The National Security Agency was given the responsibility of collecting, interpreting, and reporting the signals intercepted.

The existence of the POPPY program was declassified by the NRO in September 2005, although most of the details about its capabilities and operation are still classified. The NRO revealed, though, that the POPPY satellites, like other US SIGINT systems, used the principle of signals time difference of arrival, which enables precise locating of an object.[1] The full configuration thus employed four vehicles in low Earth orbit.[2]

There were seven launches of POPPY satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base from 1962 until 1971, all of which were successful. The program continued until August 1977.



Name Launch date International Designators Other names Launch vehicle
Poppy 1 13 December 1962 1962-067A or 1962-BETA-TAU-1, 1962-067C or 1962-BETA-TAU-3 NRL-PL 120, NRL PL 121 Thor-Agena-D
Poppy 2 15 June 1963 1963-021E NRL PL 112 Thor-Agena-D
Poppy 3 11 January 1964 1964-001E NRL PL 135 TAT-Agena-D
Poppy 4 9 March 1965 1965-016A NRL PL 142 Thor-Agena-D
Poppy 5 31 May 1967 1967-053G, 1967-053H NRL PL 151, NRL PL 153 Thor-Agena-D
Poppy 6 30 September 1969 1969-082D, 1969-082E, 1969-082F, 1969-082G (OPS 7613) NRL PL 162, 163, 161, 164 Thorad-Agena-D
Poppy 7 14 December 1971 1971-110A, 1971-110C, 1971-110D, 1979-110E (OPS 7898) NRL PL 171, 172, 173, 174 Thorad-Agena-D

See also

External links


  1. ^ a b "NRO review and redaction guide (2006 ed.)". National Reconnaissance Office. http://www.fas.org/irp/nro/declass.pdf. 
  2. ^ John L. McLucas (1972-12-18). "Memorandum for Mr. Laird: Taking Stock of the National Reconnaissance Program". National Reconnaissance Office. 

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