NASA goes old school with rocket sending astronauts to the Moon

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NASA is bringing back its historic worm logo to decorate the agency’s first crew-bearing rocket being sent to the moon in decades.

NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems began painting the bright red logo on the Space Launch System’s two solid rocket boosters last month at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the agency’s Artemis II mission, the agency announced Friday. 

EGS workers painting NASA worm logo on rocket booster

Workers with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems paint the bright red NASA worm logo on the side of an Artemis II solid rocket booster. (NASA/Glenn Benson)

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The historic logo was created in 1975 and features bold, minimalist worm-like letters meant to represent the program in what was considered a modern aerospace era. After a nearly 30-year retirement, it was brought back in 2020 for limited use on select missions and products. 

The NASA team used a laser projector to mask off the logo with tape and then painted the first coat of the iconic design. Each letter measures approximately 6 feet and 10 inches in height, altogether stretching 25 feet across both boosters.

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In addition to decorating the rocket’s 17-story boosters, the logo will also appear on the Orion spacecraft’s crew module adapter. 

painting nasa worm logo onto SLS boosters

Each letter of the logo measures approximately 6 feet and 10 inches in height, altogether stretching 25 feet across both boosters. (NASA/Glenn Benson)

The Artemis II flight test, scheduled to launch in September 2025, will be NASA’s first Artemis mission with a crew of astronauts aboard the agency’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft. Their mission will be to travel around the Moon and confirm the spacecraft’s systems operate as designed in a real deep space environment. 

The mission will pave the way for Artemis III, which will involve a crew of four traveling to the Moon. The plan is to make history by having the first woman and the first person of color to walk on its surface

nasa worm logo

In addition to decorating the rocket’s 17-story boosters, the logo will also be located on the Orion spacecraft’s crew module adapter.  (NASA/Rad Sinyak)

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“Together, these test flights will demonstrate the capabilities we need to land the first woman and next man on the Moon and enable sustainable missions for decades to come,” said Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager. “We will take the experience gained exploring the Moon to prepare for the next giant leap to Mars.”

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