The final patch design for the Space Shuttle Program has been selected by a NASA committee from a pool of entries by NASA employees and contractors.
It beat out 84 other prospective patches to be the final commemorative token of the program that defined this generation of space travel.
“As the Space Shuttle Program has been an innovative, iconic gem in the history of American spaceflight, the overall shape of the patch and its faceted panels are reminiscent of a diamond or other fine jewel,” wrote the winning artist, Blake Dumesnil a Hamilton Sundstrand employee, who works at Johnson Space Center.
The tradition of creating NASA program and mission patches was borrowed from the military. It began with the Gemini program of the 1960s.
“There’s a long history of patches, so there’s a very rich tradition of when someone says ‘a mission patch’ or ‘a shuttle patch,’ there’s an idea that comes to mind,” said Robert Pearlman, a space historian and creator of collectSPACE.com.
NASA selected 15 patches as finalists, which were then voted on by NASA employees and winnowed down by a committee. The People’s Choice winner above was also the judge’s selection.
Like the other finalists, it hewed very closely to the visual tradition established by NASA’s original Shuttle patch (right) and the more than 130 that have come since. But, outside the top 15 selected by NASA, some would-be patch designers broke the mold and tried to create some innovative and, um … different, patches. Below, are some of our favorite patches that didn’t win. We present the work with the original descriptions by the artists (unnamed by NASA), along with awards for the grooviest, and the most macho and most Soviet patches, among others.
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