The National Reconnaissance Office was established on September 6, 1961, as a covert agency with a mission to manage satellite and overflight reconnaissance projects. The Department of Defense publicly acknowledged the existence of the NRO on September 18, 1992, and the NRO adopted its official organizational seal two years later, in 1994. The origins of the seal's design are not entirely clear. It had appeared in several iterations, yet each variant featured the common element of a satellite orbiting a globe.
This official design shows a globe of the Earth set against a white, disc-shaped background and revolved to a position where a blue Atlantic Ocean is visible in the center, bordered on the left by the green landmasses of North and South America and on the right by Europe and Africa.
A red sphere -- representing a satellite -- orbits the globe following a flight path of white, trimmed with red. Around the outside of the white disc are the words "National Reconnaissance Office" and "United States of America" cast in yellow on a blue disc rimmed with gold.