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The NASA logotype, or “worm” logo, is seen on the interstage segment of the Space Launch System.
NASA is headed back to the Moon as part of the Artemis program – and the agency’s “worm” logo will be along for the ride on the first integrated mission of the powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft. Teams at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida have applied the historic logo in bright red on visible parts of the Artemis I rocket and spacecraft.
“After almost three decades, our famous logotype is back in action, and it is thrilling for all of us that worked on the original design to have it return in such an impressive way.” said Richard Danne, of the design team at Danne & Blackburn who originally created the logo. “It is particularly exciting to be involved with the Artemis program, so full of potential beginning with this promising first mission.”
The bold, sleek design of the “worm” logo was officially introduced in 1975 and was incorporated into many of the agency’s next-generation programs. It was retired in 1992, but made a comeback in 2020 as the agency ushers in a new, modern era of human spaceflight.
The worm began making an appearance on the SLS twin solid rocket boosters in late August when workers with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems and their contractor Jacobs started painting the iconic design across two of the booster segments. The team used a laser projector to mask off the logo with tape, then painted the first coat of the logo inside the center’s Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility. The job was completed by adding a second coat of paint, followed by multiple clear coats on the booster.
“The most technically challenging task was identifying the correct sizing and location of where the logo was to go,” said William Richards, an engineer with Jacobs, the lead contractor supporting booster stacking operations. “New laser technology helped us lay it out in the correct position to mask off for the painting and correctly shape the letters, especially the curve of the ‘S’.”
After the boosters are transferred to the Vehicle Assembly Building for stacking, technicians will secure an access panel across the middle section of the boosters and paint it to complete the insignia. The worm will be visible as the boosters are stacked on top of the mobile launcher, while the rocket is on the launch pad, and as it soars through Earth’s atmosphere during launch.