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Poppy (20 in series)

Poppy (20 in 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 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, with two satellites of the earlier Grab series having also been renamed to Poppy. Each launch consisted of up to four Poppy satellites and a number of secondary satellites. Poppy's average useful life on orbit was 34 months.

The first generation of Poppy satellites used the 20 in (51 cm) diameter satellite structure of Grab with a central cylindrical band added giving the satellite a length of 61 cm.

Poppy 3C contained the GGSE 1 (Gravity Gradient Stabilisation Experiment 1) secondary payload as a technological testbed for gravity stabilisation of satellites.

The Poppy 3 launch reached an highly elliptical orbit, when the Agena-D stage failed to shut down at the preprogrammed time. The Poppy 4 launch also reached a shortlived elliptical orbit, as the Agena-D failed to reignite to circularize the orbit.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: SIGINT
Operator: Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) / US Navy
Contractors: Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)
Configuration: NRL 20in sphere
Propulsion: None
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Lifetime: ca. 34 month (average)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Poppy 1A (NRL-PL 120) 1962 βτ 1 13.12.1962 Va 75-1-1 P Thor-DM21 Agena-D with Poppy 1B, Injun 3, Surcal 2, Calsphere 1, Wild Bill 2
Poppy 1B (NRL-PL 121) 1962 βτ 3 13.12.1962 Va 75-1-1 P Thor-DM21 Agena-D with Poppy 1A, Injun 3, Surcal 2, Calsphere 1, Wild Bill 2
Poppy 2B (NRL-PL 112) 1963-021D 15.06.1963 Va 75-1-1 P Thor-DM21 Agena-D with Poppy 2A (Solrad 6), Poppy 2C (RADOSE), LOFTI 2A, Surcal 3, Wild Bill 4
Poppy 3B (NRL-PL 135) 1964-001E 11.01.1964 Va 75-3-5 Thor-SLV2A Agena-D with Poppy 3A (Solrad 7A), Poppy 3C, SECOR 1, Hayloft
Poppy 3C (NRL-PL 134, GGSE 1) 1964-001B 11.01.1964 Va 75-3-5 Thor-SLV2A Agena-D with Poppy 3A (Solrad 7A), Poppy 3B, SECOR 1, Hayloft
Further GGSE missions:

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