Following closely on the heels of the Discovery Chase Team and Endeavour Final Flight patch designs, Max-Q Entertainment has created what is currently planned to be the final current-event emblem for a space shuttle-related milestone. The Texas-based company had always planned to have a trio of emblems, and they felt it was time for Atlantis to be represented. The success of the Discovery design led them to recycle the flowing banner shape that they had used in earlier designs – and improve upon it.
Carrying forward the idea from the Endeavour design, Max-Q placed silhouettes of Atlantis’ most historic payloads and missions within the ribbon. Known for her interplanetary ties, the Magellan and Galileo probes were placed next to her name at the top of the design. Mir and the Hubble Space Telescope hover behind over her tail, while her most visible mission content, the International Space Station, remains in the sky overhead as a more permanent reminder of her historic achievements in space.
A total of thirty-three stars encircle the orbiter (shown in her planned display configuration), symbolizing her thirty-three historic spaceflights. The bottom four of these stars rest between her dates of entry and removal from service – 1985 and 2011. These bottom four stars also represent her airframe number (OV-104) and the fact that Atlantis was the fourth space-worthy orbiter to enter service with NASA’s space shuttle fleet. Three more stars adorn the sky overhead, signifying the completion of three decades of service by the orbiter.
In a surprise e-mail less than one month ahead of Atlantis’ ten-mile trek to her new home, Tim Gagnon approached Max-Q Entertainment with an offer to create a design Gagnon wanted to submit to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to commemorate the event.
Max-Q with Gagnon’s assistance created a shape that paid homage to both the STS-135 emblem as well as the outlet’s own ribbon-shaped unofficial designs for the orbiters’ final moves. The design was sent to the Visitor Complex for review. The team at max-Q was unsure how their submission would be received.
“I was honestly shocked when I received an e-mail from Tim the next day saying that they loved the design and were placing a rush order for patches, said Max-Q’s Lead Graphic Designer Nathan Moeller. “But I was thrilled nonetheless, as it was the first official design we’d created from the ground up, as well as our final design for a space shuttle event. I have no problem saying that I’m proud that it was for Atlantis!”