NBCNews/Space: A spy satellite’s rise … and faked fall
Code-named “Misty,” the CIA-designed satellite was first launched in 1990, before the Persian Gulf War, and may have been replenished since.
A history of the CIA’s top-secret Directorate of Science and Technology, notes that the United States may have tried to hide the successful first launch of Misty by making it seem that the satellite had exploded before reaching its final orbit. Richelson says the ruse fooled the American media — and, more importantly, the Soviet Union.
The only people who successfully kept track of the flight were civilian space observers in England and Canada who watched a series of maneuvers performed by the satellite, including the “explosion”.