Featured Image Source: NASA/SPACEX
NASA and SpaceX are preparing to launch NASA Astronauts - for the first time - atop a Falcon 9 rocket aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft, on a journey towards the International Space Station. The United States has not deployed a manned flight to space for almost a decade. The flight is expected to ignite a new era in American spaceflight! The first crewed mission, called Demo-2, is scheduled for mid-to-late May this year. A Falcon 9 rocket will launch from historic launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine shared via Twitter, the Falcon 9 rocket that will carry the crewed Dragon spacecraft includes the "worm" NASA logo. The retro logo was designed in the 1970's and retired in 1992. Bridenstine announced:
"The worm is back! When the SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off carrying NASA Astronauts aboard Crew Dragon, it will sport the iconic symbol to mark the return of human spaceflight on American rockets from American soil."
The worm is back! When the @SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off carrying @NASA_Astronauts aboard #CrewDragon, it will sport the iconic symbol to mark the return of human spaceflight on American rockets from American soil. More: https://t.co/jQQv5ZcTY0 #TheWormIsBack pic.twitter.com/9Ltk1nMa8j— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) April 2, 2020
NASA only has two logos since its start, the 1950s NASA insignia, which is the iconic blue sphere, known as the "meatball logo," and the 1970's font that says "NASA," known as the "worm" logo. NASA explains that in the 1970's, the sphere insignia was difficult to reproduce with the technology available, so, they opted to create a new logo that would be easier to reproduce. The 1970s NASA "worm" logo was created by design firm 'Danne & Blackburn.' The bold logo is printed on Enterprise, which was the first test space shuttle, and on astronaut's space suits during that era. The logo is also printed on the Hubble Telescope that is still cruising space today. But ever since the logo's retirement in 1992, it has not been printed on any major NASA mission.
Sightings of the NASA logotype (the "worm"), from left: Astronaut Mae Jemison preparing for launch; astronaut Bruce McCandless on an untethered spacewalk; the Hubble Space Telescope; astronaut Guy Bluford; and astronaut Sally Ride. Source: NASA
Now, the retro logo returns to debut on SpaceX first crewed flight. NASA Astronauts Doug Hurley and Robert 'Bob' Behnken will conduct the Demo-2 mission. They have been training on Dragon spacecraft simulators for the past weeks to prepare for this important mission, that will return human spaceflight capabilities to the United States. Astronauts executed a full simulation of launch and docking operations inside Firing Room 4 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and SpaceX's Mission Control in Hawthorne, California headquarters. The training was in coordination with NASA flight controllers, who simulated launch day operations from the Mission Control station located in Houston, Texas. The entire training session was a full launch and docking operations of Dragon. NASA representatives announced on March 31: "Joint teams from NASA and SpaceX continue making progress on the first flight test with astronauts to the International Space Station by completing a series of mission simulations from launch to landing. The mission, known as Demo-2, is a close mirror of the company’s uncrewed flight test to station in March 2019, but this time with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft launching atop a Falcon 9 rocket as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program." Dragon's first demonstration mission, Demo-1, was an uncrewed flight to the space station that showcased the craft's ability to autonomously operate, it became the first spacecraft in history to dock autonomously to the orbiting laboratory's module. The first crewed flight, Dragon's Demo-2 mission, will replicate the same journey in May.
WATCH DEMO-2 MISSION ANIMATION!
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.