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Space Shuttle Commemorative Patch Entry
Artist-supplied caption:

The lowest portion of the image is covered by the curvature of Earth with the United States centered in the image. Three Orbiters representing the current, and final, Shuttle fleet are depicted "launching" from the US and connected to the earth through red, white, and blue flames. The External Tank and Reusable Solid Rocket Boosters are depicted falling away from the orbiters on either side above Earth. The Space Shuttle is a complicated and integrated vehicle with various elements that all play vital roles, and all elements should be represented for what they do for the program. Also "launching" from the earth are two stars with golden trails and a gold halo partway up the trail. The stars, trails, and halos represent several things. First, the star and halo are the symbol of the Astronaut Office and it represents the leadership and courage that those men and women put forth every mission. The stars also symbolize the two vehicles that have been lost during the history of the program, Challenger and Columbia. The fact that the stars are out in front of the three orbiters represents the sacrifice and importance of those vehicles and the leadership of the astronauts to the program. There were many lessons learned from those disasters, and they helped mold and shape the current configurations of the surviving fleet. Also, each star has seven lines emanating from their top halves, which represent their legacy and brightness in our memory and the fourteen crew members who sacrificed their lives. The overall interaction of the orbiters and stars is intended to create a movement forward toward the distant stars, which represents the movement forward that the program created with respect to our understanding of space and our potential future outside of Lower Earth Orbit (LEO). This hopeful future is also represented by the depiction of a crescent Moon and Mars in the upper portion of the image. Between the orbiters and the Moon are representations of some of the progress and remnants of the program (SpaceLab, Hubble Space Telescope, and ISS), which is placed there as a reminder of some of the unbelievable achievements that were completed through the program. The fifteen stars in the upper part of image are meant to represent the original inspiration for space travel at the beginning of time, as well as all fifteen NASA Centers and Field Facilities that have contributed to NASA's future and have done such wonderful things for over 50 years (NASA Headquarters, Ames Research Center, Dryden Flight Research Center, Glenn Research Center, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Goddard Space Flight Center, Independent V&V Facility, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Johnson Space Center, Kennedy Space Center, Langley Research Center, Marshall Space Flight Center, Stennis Space Center, Wallops Flight Facility, and White Sands Test Facility).

***Notes: Sorry for the crudeness of the image, my art ability is limited. Also due to my lack of artistic ability, the orbiters and other elements should probably have more/better detail, if considered appropriate.
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