With the flight manifested I decided to celebrate the completion and submission of the Test Equipment Data Package with converting the mission art into a patch. There is a long history in aerospace of having patches associated with projects. The projects contain a visual symbolism that helps build the team and provides a visual shortcut to the essentials of the project.
The Orbital Medicine patch shows a black caduceus on a blue background. The caduceus is a commonly recognized symbol of the medical profession. The blue background represents the sky, and the black of the caduceus represents the darkness of space. It is surrounded by the company name and the phrase “Microgravity Operations” in reference to the zero gravity research done by the company.
To the right are icons representing the Earth, Moon, and Mars in a receding arrangement. This symbolizes the current and future targets for human spaceflight, and the areas in which space medicine will provide the support for human exploration.
To the left is a yellow symbol of a human electrocardiogram – the representation of a human heartbeat. It is placed to the left as that is the side of the body where the human heart is located. It represents the importance of medical monitoring, evaluation and treatment performed by the medical profession during medical flight operations. It is surrounded by a stylized constellation Libra, that represents the balance that medical operations have to take between the safety and treatment of humans, and the capabilities and mission requirements. It also represents the balancing act that physicians do when treating patients, and reminds us of the Hippocratic Oath “Above all, do no harm.”
At the bottom right of the caduceus is a stethoscope head, which curls into the exhaust of the stylized space ship launching to the top of the patch. The combining of the stethoscope and exhaust plume represent the ground based medical operations performed in support of flight operations.
The gold star in the center of the patch symbolizes the phrase “sic itur ad astra” translated “thus you shall go to the stars”. This phrase originated with the Latin writer Virgil, and comes from his book the Aeneid, book IX line 641. The phrase is commonly used in the space community to represent the dedication and aspirations of those involved in the space program to ensure humanity’s access to space.
Stay tuned, and “Ad Astra”!