January 4, 2010
— NASA revealed Monday the 15 patch designs that will compete to become the agency's official commemorative emblem for the end of its space shuttle program later this year.
"The emotion that has been put in to the designs shows tremendous commitment and loyalty to the space shuttle program," wrote Debbie Byerly, who led the patch contest as technical assistant to shuttle program manager John Shannon, in an e-mail to all 85 past and present NASA and contractor employees who entered
. "The judges found it extremely difficult to narrow down the submissions to a 'Top 15,' but they have completed that task."
|Click on a patch design to enlarge and enter the gallery.|
The judges, who included Shannon, his deputy Leroy Cain and three other shuttle program managers including former astronaut John Casper, chose 15 mostly circular-in-shape designs that depict the space transportation system in its different stages of flight. Some of the finalists also feature depictions of the International Space Station (ISS) and the Hubble Space Telescope as two of the shuttle's crowning achievements.
The same panel of NASA judges will ultimately select the winning artwork to be flown on STS-132, the final flight of space shuttle Atlantis as currently scheduled for launch in May. Before they make their selection though, NASA will give its workers a chance to vote for their favorite.
"Voting will begin January 11 and end January 29, 2010. The People's Choice voting will be one factor considered in the selection of the final patch," Byerly explained in her e-mail to the entrants.
Voting in the employee poll will be conducted through the internal NASA "Rendezvous" website.
The artist behind the winning design will be presented with the flown artwork as an award and see his/her patch be adapted to appear on NASA-produced decals and other outreach products. The People's Choice winner, if different from the judges' favorite, will receive a framed certificate, while all other contest participants will receive an award to be specified later by the shuttle program.
To avoid influencing the voting, the identity of the artists have been kept secret. Byerly told collectSPACE though that the entrants included workers from NASA facilities located nationwide and that their professions ranged from technician to astronaut
. The contest did not require those who entered to possess artistic talent as NASA's graphic artists would be available to work with the winner to adapt his/her idea for use by the agency.
The contest, which began last October
and closed to new submissions in December, was developed by Shannon and Byerly to be an "uplifting" activity for shuttle workers as the program entered its final year. Five shuttle flights remain on NASA's manifest starting with the launch of Endeavour on the STS-130 mission in February. Should all proceed as is currently scheduled, Discovery will fly the program's final flight, STS-133, in September.
According to Byerly, the winning patch will be announced by NASA sometime in February.
Vote now for your favorite patch design in collectSPACE's unofficial fans' choice poll, running Jan. 11 to Jan. 29.