Poppy Comes Out of the Dark

The National Reconnaissance Office—the one-time super secret military organization that shepherds spy satellites—has lifted the cover from another Cold War reconnaissance program. This one was called “Poppy,” an electronic intelligence satellite first launched in the early 1960s. Its mission was to detect land-based radar emitters and support ocean surveillance. There were seven Poppy satellites launched from 1962 to 1971 and the program ran through August 1977. It was initially developed by the Naval Research Lab but shifted to NRO when that agency started up in 1962.