With marketing and branding becoming an ever greater part of American life, we are seeing logos in increasing unusual places. One of the more unusual will be seen next month, on space shuttle Atlantis’s fuel tank.
The United States flag and the NASA logo fly proudly on every space shuttle, but the commemorative logo design is a new addition. In fact, this is only the second time that a space shuttle has had special decoration, out of a long history of 135 missions. There is good reason to add a new logo to Atlantis; this will be the last US space shuttle mission after the program’s thirty year run.
The logo was chosen from a large number of images submitted by NASA’s present and former employees. It features a space shuttle blasting out of a circle, representing the earth. Several decorative bars are arranged in a diamond shape behind the space shuttle image, including one that resembles the American flag. Two sets of stars represent the fourteen astronauts lost in two separate space shuttle disasters as well as the five space shuttles in the program. The bars create a feeling of movement while the diamond shape implies quality and excellence.
The deep colors are reminiscent of outer space and the night sky, and they also will be easy to see against the stark white of the shuttle. The new logo design also relates to an old tagline that was used for the space shuttle program when it began in April of 1981: The Gem of the Galaxy. This tagline is being resurrected for the final mission of the space shuttle program.
This logo will be displayed on the fuel tank of the space shuttle, which is located near the nose of the aircraft. It will also be available in medallions, patches, t-shirts, and other accessories created to celebrate the event. This is a fun way of celebrating a rather sad occasion: the end of America’s space shuttle era, which comes at a time when NASA and other exploratory programs are being closed due to budget matters.
If you are interested in watching the final American space shuttle flight, it will occur on July 8. The hand-painted logo is on a 3 by 5 foot panel that has not yet been added to the space shuttle, but it will be completed the week before the launch.
Those of us who grew up with the space shuttle program, witnessing the Columbia disaster and generally worshipping the astronauts who manned the many missions, will be a little sad to see the end of this program. There is no occasion more deserving of a commemorative logo design. While we are normally against crowdsourcing, the NASA employees clearly understood their ‘mission’ to create a logo worthy of this event and did a fine job.
Special event logos can be a great way to celebrate milestones, but it is important that the designs be professional and appropriate for the situation. If you are wondering a special logo is the right choice for your business, consult a logo designer.