August 10, 2006
— As collectSPACE first reported last month, NASA's new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and moon landing program is expected to adopt the moniker Orion. The space agency hasn't yet announced the name, but a logo bearing the title has now been seen in a NASA internal document that labels the insignia as "approved."
The triangular logo, which could be meant to resemble the shape of the new crewed capsule, has a blue background and white stars that are arranged to form the constellation Orion.
The three stars that are associated with Orion's "belt" are enlarged and appear over a trailing, red orbital vector that extends back and around a blue globe. The planet serves as the "O" in the otherwise plainly type-faced title "Orion."
The NASA document containing the logo is itself entitled "Project Orion Logo Approved" and is identified as being associated with (or for) NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle Project Office.
NASA's Project Orion logo draws from the space agency's Apollo logo (upper left) and joins other recently released logos, including Exploration Systems, Constellation and Project Ares. (NASA)
The Orion logo is the fourth to be associated with NASA's new exploration program. Prior insignias have included a design for the agency's Office of Exploration Systems, a Constellation Program emblem and, as was revealed in June, a logo for Project Ares, the rockets that will launch Orion and its lunar lander.
NASA's first lunar landing program, Apollo used a circular emblem that featured an enlarged "A." The letter's cross stroke was formed by the three stars of the constellation Orion.
Under Project Orion, NASA plans to launch crews of four to six astronauts aboard Orion capsules, first to orbit the Earth and the international space station and then later to the Moon.
Two teams, one led by Lockheed Martin and the other a joint effort by Northrop Grumman and The Boeing Co. are currently competing to build the CEV. NASA is expected to select the winner in the coming weeks.