Flags flown twice in space on 3 spacecraft set for ceremonial return
Hundreds of small flags that were launched to space twice and flew on board three countries' crewed spacecraft, as well as on two space stations, will be returned to the organization for which they were flown during an international ceremony held in Berlin.
On Friday (Sept. 14), astronauts from Europe and China will join officials from their respective space agencies and from the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) for the handover of 300 flags that most recently returned from orbit on board China's Shenzhou 9 mission in June. The ceremony will take place during the ILA Berlin Air Show at Germany's Berlin Brandenburg Airport.
The blue and gold flags, which are unique for having flown on "all types of active manned spacecrafts in the world," traveled in Earth orbit for 444 days over the course of two extended missions. The flags' multi-vehicle journey, which began two years ago, before the United States retired its space shuttle fleet, commemorated the Federation's 60th anniversary.