NASA branding returns to the worm

SpaceX Dragon

SpaceX Dragon

The meatball, which dates back longer in the 1950s, has a blue disc with stars, red chevron, and "NASA" in the middle.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine declared that "the worm is back" today in a tweet - and revealed that it's been painted on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that's due to launch NASA astronauts to the International Space Station as soon as next month. At the time, the agency's original 1950s "meatball" logo was hard to reproduce and print. However, with 1970's technology, it was a hard icon to reproduce, print, and many people considered it a complicated metaphor in what was considered, then, a modern aerospace era.

But in 1974, the space agency introduced these red bold letters with a special font in a bid for a simpler and modern logo.

Although the worm logo was retired in 1992 (except "on clothing and other souvenir items", NASA says) it has retained a cult following in the design world-diehard fans can even buy the original standard manual. And just in time to mark the return of human spaceflight on American rockets from American soil.

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Now, the worm is returning to the spotlight just as human spaceflight is coming back to American rockets and American soil after almost a decade.

SpaceX is readying for its first flight with astronauts on board - Demo-2, which is technically the last demonstration mission that is required before the Crew Dragon capsule is officially certified to start flying regular missions. Nicknamed the "worm", the logo was designed by a firm, Danne & Blackburn.

According to NASA, the worm logo might be revitalised in future missions as well. The agency is still determining how and where else the logotype might be used, as the meatball logo will remain the agency's primary symbol.

"The retro, modern design of the agency's logo will help capture the excitement of a new, modern era of human spaceflight on the side of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle that will ferry astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the Demo-2 flight, now scheduled for mid- to late May", NASA said.

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