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Poppy (multifaceted)

Poppy (multifaceted Version) [NRO]

Poppy was the follow-on ELINT system, which succeeded the Grab ELINT satellite system. The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) proposed and developed Poppy, an electronic intelligence (ELINT) satellite system in 1962. Poppy's mission was to collect radar emissions from Soviet air and missile defense radars. The primary organizations that supported the Poppy Program included NRO, NSA, NRL, the Naval Security Group, the Air Force Security Service, the Army Security Agency and the Office of Naval Intelligence.

The Poppy Program was a component of the NRO Program C and NRL designed, developed, and operated Poppy satellites within Program C. NRO Program A provided launch support for Poppy. NSA received, analyzed, and reported findings derived from the intercepted radar signals from Poppy. The Naval Security Group, with support from Air Force Security Service and Army Security Agency, coordinated field operations and maintained and operated Poppy ground sites.

The satellites of the last launch of this series added ocean surveillance to their tasks and became prototypes for the later NOSS satellites.

The Poppy Program operated from December 1962 through August 1977 using satellites of three configurations: 20 in series, a 24 in series and a multifaceted series. A total of seven Poppy satellites launches were conducted, each consisting of up to four satellites. Poppy's average useful life on orbit was 34 months. At the time of the last mission, the mission live was nealy 6 years. Poppy 7 was launched on 14 December 1971 and operated until August 1977.

The third generation of Poppy satellites used an enlarged 27 in (68 cm) diameter satellite structure with a length of 81 – 86 cm. It featured a multifaceted surface covered with solar cells for increased power. The satellites used 2- or 3-axis gravity gradient stabilization and ammonia microthrusters for station keeping in order to maintain the orbital configuration of the Poppy constellation.

Some of the multifaceted Poppy satellites carried a secondary payload. Under this name these Poppy satellites were known to the public with the Poppy payload remaining secret.

  • Poppy 5B carried GGSE 4 as a technological testbed for gravity stabilisation of satellites.
  • Poppy 5D carried GGSE 5 as a technological testbed for gravity stabilisation of satellites.

The Poppy satellites were succeeded by the NOSS-1 (Parcae, White Cloud) ELINT triplets, which were dedicated to ocean surveillance.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: ELINT, ocean surveillance
Operator: Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) / US Navy
Contractors: Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)
Equipment:
Configuration:
Propulsion: None
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Lifetime: ca. 34 month (average)
Mass: 83 kg (#5B); 72 kg (#5C); 101 kg (#5D); 107 kg (#6A); 101 kg (#6B); 112 kg (#6C); 107 kg (#6D); 123 kg (#7A, 7B); 128 kg (#7C, 7D)
Orbit: 926 km × 941 km, 70 (#5B-5D); 909 km × 937 km, 70 (#6A-6D); 981 km × 1000 km, 70 (#7A-7D)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Poppy 5B (NRL-PL 152, GGSE 4) 1967-053C 31.05.1967 Va SLC-2W Thor-DM21 Agena-D with Poppy 5A, Poppy 5C, Poppy 5D (GGSE 5), Timation 1, Calsphere 3, Calsphere 4, NRL-PL 150B, OPS 5712
Poppy 5C (NRL-PL 153) 1967-053H 31.05.1967 Va SLC-2W Thor-DM21 Agena-D with Poppy 5A, Poppy 5B (GGSE 4), Poppy 5D (GGSE 5), Timation 1, Calsphere 3, Calsphere 4, NRL-PL 150B, OPS 5712
Poppy 5D (NRL-PL 154, GGSE 5) 1967-053D 31.05.1967 Va SLC-2W Thor-DM21 Agena-D with Poppy 5A, Poppy 5B (GGSE 4), Poppy 5C, Timation 1, Calsphere 3, Calsphere 4, NRL-PL 150B, OPS 5712
Poppy 6A (NRL-PL 161) 1969-082D 30.09.1969 Va SLC-1W Thorad-SLV2G Agena-D with Poppy 6B, Poppy 6C, Poppy 6D, Timation 2, Tempsat 2, SOICAL Cone, SOICAL Cylinder, NRL-PL 176, P-11 4407
Poppy 6B (NRL-PL 161) 1969-082E 30.09.1969 Va SLC-1W Thorad-SLV2G Agena-D with Poppy 6A, Poppy 6C, Poppy 6D, Timation 2, Tempsat 2, SOICAL Cone, SOICAL Cylinder, NRL-PL 176, P-11 4407
Poppy 6C (NRL-PL 163) 1969-082F 30.09.1969 Va SLC-1W Thorad-SLV2G Agena-D with Poppy 6A, Poppy 6B, Poppy 6D, Timation 2, Tempsat 2, SOICAL Cone, SOICAL Cylinder, NRL-PL 176, P-11 4407
Poppy 6D (NRL-PL 164) 1969-082G 30.09.1969 Va SLC-1W Thorad-SLV2G Agena-D with Poppy 6A, Poppy 6B, Poppy 6C, Timation 2, Tempsat 2, SOICAL Cone, SOICAL Cylinder, NRL-PL 176, P-11 4407
Poppy 7A (NRL-PL 171) 1971-110A 14.12.1971 Va SLC-1W Thorad-SLV2G Agena-D with Poppy 7B, Poppy 7C, Poppy 7D
Poppy 7B (NRL-PL 172) 1971-110C 14.12.1971 Va SLC-1W Thorad-SLV2G Agena-D with Poppy 7A, Poppy 7C, Poppy 7D
Poppy 7C (NRL-PL 173) 1971-110D 14.12.1971 Va SLC-1W Thorad-SLV2G Agena-D with Poppy 7A, Poppy 7B, Poppy 7D
Poppy 7D (NRL-PL 174) 1971-110E 14.12.1971 Va SLC-1W Thorad-SLV2G Agena-D with Poppy 7A, Poppy 7B, Poppy 7C
Further GGSE missions: