Celebrating the Shuttle — coming soon
It’s been a looong time since I originally posted about a self-initiated project to celebrate the conclusion of NASA’s space shuttle program.
Originally I hoped to release a print to coincide with the final mission, but that came and went in July 2011 and I never got the piece to a stage I was happy with.
Anyway, watch this space, because I am pleased to announce that in early 2013 the project will be unveiled. Better late than never! ;)
Discovery’s final flight / April 17, 2012
Yesterday Space Shuttle Discovery made its final flight, as it was transferred atop a Boeing 747 from Florida to Washington, destined to become a museum exhibit after 27 years of service and 39 missions to space. Coverage of the journey was all over the web and TV, as it made a dramatic flypast over the Washington skyline.
One of the best things that I ended up watching though, was this CBS special news report from August 1977. If you’ve got 30 minutes to spare, check it out on YouTube. This ‘Approach and Landing Test’ was the first time a Space Shuttle flew on its own. Piggy-backing in the same way on a 747, the Shuttle climbed to 24,00 ft, before astronauts Fred Haise and Gordon Fullerton performed a separation and guided it to the runway for the first time.
The documentary makes for compelling watching — not least because of some beautiful 70s graphics; just check out those Polaroid and CBS logos, nice! — but because, 35 years ago, NASA and the world dreamed these vehicles would be making 100+ trips into orbit over their lifetime, making space travel a routine, cheap and frequent exercice. It’s interesting to watch, noting this sense of optimism and excitement, and to think back on what the Shuttle program did and didn’t achieve over the last 30 years.
Inside Space Shuttle Atlantis + Discovery / Collectspace.com
Some truly awesome photos showing the interior of Space Shuttle Atlantis – with the instrument panels lit up one final time before the spacecraft is powered down for good, ahead of its transfer to public display at Kennedy Space Center.
More pictures here, and some of Discovery here.
Seen on ISO50.
Apollo 8 / 21st December 1968
43 years ago today, three men strapped themselves to the top of a Saturn V rocket – one of the most powerful vehicles ever constructed – and headed for the moon. They were the first astronauts to command the enormous rocket; and the first humans leave Earth’s orbit. They travelled over 238,000 miles, successfully completed 10 orbits of the moon, and returned safely to Earth. It was an astonishing accomplishment.
Today, as part of the Just Us 2011 advent calendar, my iOS wallpapers are available to download, celebrating the Apollo 8 mission.
Download them from my own site, and at Just Us.
It was a fun little project to work on – trying to summarise such an immense, almost inconceivable human achievement in a visual format that demands the utmost simplicity. I decided that focusing on scale would be the most effective way to represent the enormity of the mission. The Earth (iPad) and Moon (iPhone) are sized in proportion to one another. And if you place your iOS devices 2.82m apart, you’ll get an accurate sense of the distances involved.
Yeah, it’s crazy. Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, Bill Anders — you’re awesome.
The NASA Worm Project on Flickr
“This group is dedicated to the resurrection of the NASA logotype (1975-92) commonly referred to as the “Worm” logo. This was an iconic symbol of space exploration, technology and progress. Unfortunately it was retired in 1992 by NASA, and was replaced with its outdated predecessor. This was a giant leap backwards for modern design.”
I wholeheartedly agree with this group! Go forth, space nerds, and contribute your best 70s/80s NASA memorabilia to this online resource!
NASA identity guidelines / Danne and Blackburn, 1976
What with all the press surrounding the recent retiring of the Space Shuttle, there has been considerable interest in an old post of mine from March last year. In the post, I explained how a very generous tutor from my old college found the time to scan me some pages from one of his prized possessions – an original copy of NASA’s 1976 graphics standards manual.
The document appears to be a bit of a graphic design rarity, with very little coverage on the net. Apart from the scans I posted last year, all that seems to be floating round cyberspace is this rather nice photograph:
(Apologies for the lack of a photographer credit – I can’t seem to find one)
Anyway, I thought I’d go into a little more detail by photographing some of the spreads that I’m in possession of. Remember – these are crude black and white photocopies of the real thing, and in no way convey how truly awesome this document is. Seeing everything in full colour, beautifully printed and bound is something very special for anyone interested in graphic design, or space travel. In my opinion this is one of the greatest brand identities ever created, so utterly simple and effective, completely appropriate and – as demonstrated here – executed superbly.
Enjoy a couple of spreads here, then head to my Flickr page for the full set of high-res images.
Endeavour lifts off / STS-134, May 16 2011
Space Shuttle Endeavour has launched on her final journey, taking the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier to the International Space Station.
Atlantis is set to fly in July, on the final mission of the shuttle program.