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Space Shuttle Commemorative Patch Entry
Artist-supplied caption:

I designed this patch to be the "people's patch." The overall shape of the patch looks very similar to the shuttle program patch, STS-1 patch, and the shuttle approach and landing test patches only inverted. This is to symbolize that we're coming to the end of the program as well as a testament to how far we have come. Around the rim of the inverted triangle you have the acronyms of the various NASA centers that directly support the space shuttle program. Inside the triangle you have the shuttle, as well as the Moon, Mars, and the Galaxy. The shuttle obviously never went to these places, but I believe that as we progress, the shuttle program will be realized as a footstone that led us down the path to low Earth orbit. The things that we have learned from the shuttle program allow us for a longer stay in space. The yellow trail with the star at the top symbolizes the astronauts, scientists, engineers, and others who will continue to go forward to other programs, paving a path to the future. The seven stars on either side of the trail symbolize those who lost their life in our endeavor, our most basic human nature, to explore. This symbolizes that even though these events occur in the past, that they live on with us, never forgotten as we move forward.

At the bottom of the outer circle the manned non-captive flights are shown, from the Approach and Landing Test 12 to STS-136. The outer rim of the circle displays the names of the shuttles, including Enterprise, which allowed us to fly into space with a much greater frequency than ever before achieved. On the right half of the circle you see the Earth. In particular you see the coast of FL, LA, MS, AL, and TX, all of which have NASA facilities that serve the shuttle program. The colors of blue, green, and white symbolize NASA's commitment to environmental research and to making the world a better place. There is also a sun rising to the east. We are at a point of a new dawn which will see us depart LEO and go to places like our own Moon, the moons of other planets, near Earth objects, and beyond. We don't know for sure what that will entail, but we are rising to meet the challenge and excited about the prospects.

The left half of the circle is meant to look mostly blank. This is an attempt to recreate what it looks like from space when the sun sets. There is a pink and blue hue on a black horizon. This is meant to show that the sun is setting on the Shuttle program. It is a moment that has been described as a beautiful and memorable experience by those who have seen it. At the same time it will also be a very sad thing to see.

This patch includes elements that sum up NASA's mission statement: To understand and protect our home planet, to explore the universe and search for life, and to inspire the next generation of explorers as only NASA can. It also is meant to pay homage to all the people who have worked on this program as well as the facilities. Please consider my submission for the Shuttle Program Retirement Patch.
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