STS-135 Flyaround Emblem by @Astro95Media

STS-135 "Flyaround"

Created: August 2010
Designers: Nathan Moeller, Brian Papke, Jeff Ray, Larry Sullivan, Steven Burgess, Evelyn Coulson, Tim Gagnon & Chris Gebhardt

Design Summary

After the STS-135 "IDIC" design was complete, we began to think that it might be better to have an alternate design ready to go as a backup. The reasoning for this was the fact that the IDIC design was very solid in terms of detail and symbolism, which to us translated to the crew not having much to play with if they wanted us to change something in the event we were selected. With that in mind, we went for a more simple design when it came to the alternate.

Of course, we knew we had some great symbolism in the IDIC design that would easily be carried over. But we also wanted to give this new design a completely new look. We backed off from the unique shape of the IDIC design and went back to the basics. A simple circle always provides some great possibilities as it doesn't lock you into some abstract shape like the IDIC patch did. It also allowed us to aim high for simplicity.

We had always been most intrigued by patches in which the orbiter is depicted blazing a trail across the patch. That was the starting point. A simple sketch showed the orbiter blazing a trail around the entire patch. This held a myriad of possible symbolic ideas. From launch to a fiery re-entry, it was perfect. But it also held another meaning. The same sketch had the ISS in the center of the patch, which essentially made it look like a flyaround. And there it was...

From launch, flyaround and re-entry, the patch would symbolize the shuttle program coming full circle (no pun intended), with the mission revolving around the future - the International Space Station. Much of the symbolism from the IDIC patch was retained, from the rays of the sun symbolizing the orbiter fleet to the sixteen stars representing the fallen crews of Columbia and Challenger.

- Nathan Moeller