Craft and creativity

The story behind the NRO’s sinister octopus logo

MuckRock reports:

When the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) announced the upcoming launch of their NROL-39 mission back in December 2013, they didn’t get quite the response they had hoped. That might have had something to do with the mission logo being a gigantic octopus devouring the Earth.


Privacy and security researcher Runa Sandvik wanted to know who approved this and why, so she filed a FOIA with the NRO for the development materials that went into the logo. A few months later, the NRO delivered. As for the question of “why a giant octopus,” the NRO offers up these two clunky paragraphs

Description of the NRO octopus logo

If that imagery comes off as somewhat forced, there’s a reason for that – an article for what appeared to be the ODNI’s internal magazine reveals the “secret origin” of the octopus…

NRO octopus patch design

That article draws from a speech made by the Mission Manager…

“It’s really neat to me. It’s kind of saying the enemy has nowhere to run.”

MuckRock: “A little sinister!!” The story behind National Reconnaissance Office’s octopus logo

See also

  • The patches of US spy satellite launchesA purple-haired sorceress holding a fireball. A three-headed dragon wrapping its claws around the world. A great raptor emerging from the flames. No, these are not characters from a Magic: The Gathering deck. They are avatars depicted on the official mission patches made for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
  • MuckRock is a collaborative news site that brings together journalists, researchers, activists, and regular citizens to request, analyze, and share government documents, making politics more transparent and democracies more informed.
  • What does the red swoosh in NASA’s ‘meatball’ logo mean?The distinctive red shape wasn’t just a designerly flourish…

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