STS-132 10-Year Anniversary
It is hard to believe that it was ten years ago that space shuttle Atlantis made its penultimate flight. STS-132 was Atlantis’ second to last trip to the International Space Station.
For me, this flight was meaningful for another reason. My artwork was onboard Atlantis.
I attended the launch with my wife on May 14, 2010. We watched from the public viewing site on the NASA causeway about seven miles from launch pad 39A. It was thrilling to see Atlantis with my artwork thrust into the heavens atop a blindingly bright plume of rocket exhaust.
The artwork onboard was the result of a design contest held by NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. They were seeking an insignia to commemorate the thirty year span of the program. The contest was open to any employee of NASA or its space contractors. Since I was working at Boeing at the time I was eligible to participate. I created four different design concepts and ultimately entered the insignia you see here. My design was one of the top fifteen finalists chosen out of a total of eighty-five entries received.
For this flight of Atlantis the design entries were written onto two CDs and prepared for the ride of their digital lives. A pair of triangular tool stowage boxes was carefully bolted between the braces on Atlantis’ docking airlock. The boxes were loaded with commemorative patches and flags. Tucked away inside the starboard container were the CDs containing the patch designs that had been entered into the contest in December 2009. Among the designs was my artwork.
During its 12 days in space, Atlantis along with the artwork made 186 orbits of the planet and traveled 4,879,978 miles.
My passion for spaceflight originated in the 1960s and 70s when I followed the Apollo missions on TV and learned about them in books and magazines. I have long wanted to be able to design a mission patch and have it flown into space.
This was the second creation of mine to make the journey into the space beyond our planet. And while my design never made it quite to “mission patch” status, I am very proud and grateful to have had the privilege of vicariously joining the crew of Atlantis on STS-132. I felt a special connection to the mission and to the astronauts who made one of the last flights of the space shuttle program. Thank you, NASA, for taking my artwork to new heights!