Shuttle launching up through the hourglass symbolizes the timelessness and enduring impact of the shuttles accomplishments. I think it is important to have the entire shuttle, not just the orbiter because of all the people that this patch will impact who work on the entire system. The 134 falling stars in the lower half that fall to earth from the shuttles contrail represent the missions of the shuttle. The two "falling stars" with tails represent the two missions and crew that were lost. On either pillar of the hourglass are the names of the functional shuttles similar to the crew names on a mission patch. I originally had a ribbon around the center of the left pillar but thought it might be too painful and take away from the greatness we are trying to convey. Around the earth are the ISS and Hubble showing some of the major accomplishments of the shuttle. Around the outside of the hourglass (between the pillars and glass) are the operational years, the astronaut logo, and some of the payloads that we launched into deep space. I had considered placing the service years 2011 at the top base and the 1981 at the lower base, and that could still be done.