NASA has announced the limited return of the agency’s retro “worm” insignia. The insignia will return to the launchpad for the first time in almost two decades with the launch of the maiden crewed mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.
Late yesterday, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted a link to the official announcement stating, “The worm is back!” In the announcement, NASA revealed that the reintroduction of the retro insignia was part of the agency’s push to “help capture the excitement of a new, modern era of human spaceflight.”
According to Bridenstine’s tweet and the official announcement, the worm insignia is set to return to the launchpad emblazoned on a SpaceX Falcon 9 that will carry the first crewed Crew Dragon spacecraft. The launch will be the first time the insignia is featured on a launch vehicle since its retirement in 1992.
Although when the worm insignia was first introduced in 1975 it replaced the classic “meatball” insignia, it appears that the reintroduction will see it used sparingly alongside the meatball.
“There’s a good chance you’ll see the logo featured in other ways on this mission [Demo-2] in the future. The agency is still assessing how and where it will be used, exactly.”
NASA did not detail the reasoning behind the reintroduction. However, it appears to have, at least partially, been a directive from Bridenstine himself. In a follow-on to his original announcement on Twitter, Bridenstine explained that he had grown up inspired by NASA missions “during the era of the NASA worm.”