NASA is officially bringing back its iconic “worm” logo from the 1970s for SpaceX’s upcoming Falcon 9 Crew Dragon launch, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine announced today on Twitter. The organization is seeking to “mark the return of human spaceflight on American rockets from American soil.”
The worm is back! When the @SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off carrying @NASA_Astronauts aboard #CrewDragon, it will sport the iconic symbol to mark the return of human spaceflight on American rockets from American soil. More: https://t.co/jQQv5ZcTY0 #TheWormIsBack pic.twitter.com/9Ltk1nMa8j— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) April 2, 2020
The worm logo was introduced in 1975 by design firm Danne & Blackburn as part of an effort to “upgrade” the space agency’s graphics from the original “meatball” logo that NASA had been using since 1959. The logo is practically synonymous with that era of spaceflight, adorning the Hubble Telescope and the original test flight shuttle, Enterprise. But despite the slick, modern design, the worm logo was officially retired in 1992 in favor of a return to the original meatball logo, which is still used today by NASA. (Although the worm logo did still stick around for merchandising opportunities.)
The return of the worm on the upcoming Crew Dragon launch — tentatively scheduled for sometime in May — will mark a major comeback for the iconic logo, which hasn’t been to space in an official capacity in decades.
And while the meatball logo will still remain NASA’s primary logo, the future looks bright for the worm. NASA promises “there’s a good chance you’ll see the logo featured in other official ways on this mission and in the future,” although the agency is still figuring out where and when it’ll be featured.