NASA insignia

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NASA insignia
Original 1959 NASA seal, rendered in black and white
1959 NASA seal, black and white
A blue sphere with stars, a yellow planet with a white moon; a red chevron representing wings, and an orbiting spacecraft; surrounded by a white border with "NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION U.S.A." in red letters
1961 NASA seal, color
A blue sphere with stars, white letters N-A-S-A in Helvetica font; a red chevron representing wings, and an orbiting spacecraft
NASA "meatball" insignia, primary logo 1959–1975, 1992–present
A red line forming stylized letters N-A-S-A
NASA "worm" logotype 1975–1992, re-instated as a secondary logo in 2020

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) logo has three main official designs, although the one with stylized red curved text (the "worm") was retired from official use from May 22, 1992, until April 3, 2020, when it was reinstated as a secondary logo. The three logos include the NASA insignia (also known as the "meatball"[1]), the NASA logotype (also known as the "worm"), and the NASA seal.[2][3][4]

The NASA seal was approved by President Eisenhower in 1959, and slightly modified by President Kennedy in 1961.[5][6]


The NASA logo dates from 1959, when the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) transformed into an agency that advanced both astronautics and aeronautics—the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

NASA seal[edit]

In the NASA insignia design, the sphere represents a planet, the stars represent space, the red chevron is a wing representing aeronautics (the latest design in hypersonic wings at the time the logo was developed), and then the orbiting spacecraft going around the wing. It is known officially as the insignia.[7]

NASA "meatball" insignia[edit]

After a NASA Lewis Research Center illustrator's design was chosen for the new agency's official seal, the executive secretary of NASA asked James Modarelli, the head of Reports Division at Lewis Research Center, to design a logo that could be used for less formal purposes. Modarelli simplified the seal, leaving only the white stars and orbital path on a round field of blue with a red vector. He then added white N-A-S-A lettering.[1]

NASA "worm" logotype[edit]

In 1974, as part of the Federal Graphics Improvement Program of the National Endowment for the Arts, NASA hired Richard Danne and Bruce Blackburn to design a more modern logo.[7] In 1975, the agency switched to the modernist NASA logotype, nicknamed "the worm", a red, stylized rendering of the letters N-A-S-A.[8] The horizontal bars on the As are removed in the worm logo.

Retirement and return of the 'worm'[edit]

The NASA logotype was retired from official use on May 22, 1992[7] by NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin. The design was used only for special occasions and commercial merchandising purposes approved by the Visual Identity Coordinator at NASA Headquarters until 2020, when it was brought out of retirement by administrator Jim Bridenstine. The re-instated logo was unveiled on the booster for SpaceX's Crew-Demo 2 Mission.[9] This marked its first official use since 1992.[10]

As of 2020, the logo, with blue lettering instead of red, is also used by the NASA Federal Credit Union.[11]


NASA insignia visible on Space Shuttle Endeavour, 2007

The official NASA seal is reserved for use in connection with the NASA Administrator. It is used in more formal traditional and ceremonial events such as award presentations and press conferences. According to NASA Headquarters, the seal should never be used with the NASA insignia, since the two elements are intended for different purposes and are visually incompatible when seen side by side.

Like most images produced by the United States Government, the insignia, the "worm" logo and the NASA seal are in the public domain.[12] However, their usage is restricted under Code of Federal Regulations 14 CFR 1221.[13] These NASA emblems should be reproduced only from original reproduction proofs, transparencies, or computer files available from NASA Headquarters.

The colors used in the logo are the following:[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Garber, Steve. "NASA "Meatball" Logo". NASA History Program Office. NASA. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  2. ^ Ellen Lupton (1996). Mixing Messages: Graphic Design in Contemporary American Culture. Princeton Architectural. ISBN 156898099X.
  3. ^ NASA takes `meatball' over `worm', The Roanoke Times, (May 24, 1992).
  4. ^ "Rover's stunning image of lander". BBC News. 2004-01-21. Retrieved 2010-01-06.
  5. ^ Executive Order 10849 (Wikisource)
  6. ^ Executive Order 10942 (Wikisource)
  7. ^ a b c Greenbaum, Hilary (August 3, 2011). "Who Made Those NASA Logos?". The New York Times. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
  8. ^ "History of the Insignia". NASA. Archived from the original on 2005-04-04.
  9. ^ Dunbar, Brian. "The Worm is Back!". NASA. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  10. ^ Chang, Kenneth (8 April 2020). "NASA's 'Worm' Logo Will Return to Space – The new old logo, dropped in the 1990s in favor of a more vintage brand, will adorn a SpaceX rocket that is to carry astronauts to the space station in May". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  11. ^ "NASA Federal Credit Union".
  12. ^ "Media Usage Guidelines". National Aeronautic and Space Administration. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Code of Federal Regulations 14 CFR 1221". Retrieved 2007-11-21.
  14. ^ "NASAstyle FULL GUIDE – NASA StyleGuide" (PDF). National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). November 2006. Retrieved 2017-06-05.

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document: "NASA 'Meatball' Logo".

External links[edit]