With the Discovery Chase Team emblems being sent across the United States and countries across the Atlantic, we’d like to show you how the design began.
Originally, the plan was to submit different designs to the team who would fly space shuttles Discovery and Endeavour to their respective display sites in Virginia and California and move Atlantis to the KSC Visitor Center with the hope that they would be accepted as official emblems for the historic events.
With Discovery first in line to be sent to her new home at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA, we started with the fleet leader. Here is the first design attempt -
We used images of the Vehicle Assembly Building and the tower at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center with the mated Shuttle Carrier Aircraft/Orbiter stack flying between the two to symbolize the trip Discovery will be making from one site to another. Thirty-nine stars trail the stack representing the thirty-nine spaceflights made by Discovery during her twenty-seven years of service. The design was then submitted to the SCA team at Dryden.
A fun fact to note is that the SCA/Orbiter drawing was traced and created from two separate images, as we could not find a photo that matched the vision we had for the design. It required using a separate photo of a KLM 747 taking off and creating a composite image of a combined 747/Discovery stack. The SCA paint scheme was created in the line drawing process. Since the two images didn’t line up perfectly, only one side of each vehicle was traced. The two drawings were then lined up and mirrored to produce the full SCA/Orbiter stack.
Fittingly, the image of the orbiter used for tracing was a photo from the last ferry flight of the vehicle in 2009. The September SCA flight of Discovery after her STS-128 landing in California actually became the final such flight of an operational space shuttle orbiter.
After a few weeks of waiting and not hearing anything, we dismissed the attempt to submit the emblem designs to the SCA teams and proceeded to plan ahead with out own plans to cover Discovery’s move from KSC to the NASM in April 2012.
Eventually, we decided that, with all five members of Max-Q getting involved with the effort along with a good friend of ours who would pilot a member of the crew and much of our gear, we could have our own emblem to commemorate the events, which would see the team in both Florida and Virginia for coverage. With the previous design sitting dormant on a hard drive, we decided to continue development of the design for ourselves and add our own names to it as the “Discovery Chase Team.” Here was the next rev of the design -
While the emblem was well on its way, we knew it needed to become something more than a simple circle. One design that had inspired our lead graphics designer was the flowing ribbon of STS-128. It was decided that that same complete ribbon would be used in the DCT design to symbolize Discovery’s career coming full circle. With that, the final rev was cranked out -
The thirty-nine stars, VAB, Udvar-Hazy tower and SCA/orbiter stack were all retained (though re-arranged for visual balance) and ribbon added. The colors used in the interior of the emblem were those of the emblem used for Discovery’s maiden flight in 1984 – STS-41-B. The ribbon was painted in red and black, which are the two symbolic colors of the Max-Q team.
With the patch now produced and our plans solidified, we now wait for NASA HQ to set a firm ferry date for Discovery. We’ll be wearing this patch during the trip so keep your eyes peeled around KSC and Washington D.C. as Discovery makes one final trip!