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Home Blogs NASATalk NASA Mission Patches

NASA Mission Patches

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Written by dpiecka
30 Nov 2009

Have you noticed the addition of mission patches to the NASATalk website?  Students will enjoy exploring these historical images from NASA.

Every space flight has a unique patch that is designed by their crew.  You can locate mission patches on NASA’s history webpages.  The elements of the patch signify important aspects of the flight.  The patches usually include the names of the crew members in the design as well as the name of the space vehicle and the mission number.  Here are some examples of the two most recent Space Transportation System or STS shuttle mission patches.

STS-129 mission patch.
STS-129 Mission Patch
Image credit: NASA.

The STS-129 mission patch is made of a diamond on the top and a circle on the bottom.  These shapes stand for the two Express Logistics Carriers that are riding on the mission. The upper, diamond-shaped part of the patch depicts the Moon and Mars.  The sun shines brightly on the International Space Station and space shuttle (diamond shape) and the United States (circular shape).  The circular shape is outlined by the names of the six STS-129 crew members.

STS-128 mission patch.
STS-128 Mission Patch
Image credit: NASA.

The STS-128 mission patch shows the gold Astronaut Office symbol in the middle.  Astronauts receive a gold pin in the shape of the Astronaut Office symbol after their first flight.  Earth and the International Space Station wrap around the Astronaut Office symbol.  Near the bottom of the patch, the space shuttle Discovery appears in its orbit configuration with its payload doors open.  The U.S. and Swedish flags are located on the left and right sides of the mission patch and represent the countries of the STS-128 crew.  The unfurled upper and lower edges of the badge show the seven crew member names.  You and your students can play interactive Mission Patch Explorers Games to learn more about the symbols on recent STS mission patches.

We would enjoy seeing examples of mission patches that you have created in your classrooms and activities.  Please upload your mission patch examples to our NASATalk Forum.  How have you used mission patches in your lesson plans?  Please share your ideas below.

Last update (05 May 2010)


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NASA Mission Patches
Written by: On: 04 Feb 2010

NASA's Space Shuttle Program invited past and present Program employees to design patches to mark the end of the shuttle era.  85 entries were received.  Later in February, a winning patch will be selected and will be flown on a future shuttle mission.

You can view the 85 Space Shuttle Program Commemorative Patch Contest Entries and their descriptions.  What is your favorite and why?

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