NASA’s mission patch for the Artemis moon program saw space for the first time during a dramatic spacewalk earlier this week.
The agency, which plans to send crews to the moon’s surface by 2024, unveiled the new logo last month. NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Drew Morgan conducted the first spacewalk since then on Wednesday (Aug. 21), with Hague showing off the patch that those future moon landers will wear.
The patch shows a dramatic white “A” floating in black space above a blue horizon that represents Earth. A red ribbon, which denotes the new crews’ path to the moon, flows from Earth’s horizon to a small, white moon near the back of the patch.
“The work happening now is paving the way for the future,” NASA said in a statement. “We are going to the moon to stay, by 2024. NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program will send the first woman and the next man to [the] surface of the Moon within five years, and prepare for human exploration of Mars.”
Morgan and Hague took a picture of the patch (with Hague holding it) during their 6-hour-and-32-minute spacewalk to install a new International Docking Adapter (IDA) on the International Space Station. The IDA is the second adapter specifically designed to allow commercial crew vehicles from SpaceX and Boeing to dock with the space station and use ports of entry originally designed for the now-retired space shuttle.
The new dock will also be used by visiting cargo vehicles and possibly by future private flights to the space station, NASA has said. But the most pressing use will be for the first crewed commercial vehicles, which may arrive at the space station as soon as this year if all goes according to plan.
The Artemis program’s first major mission is an uncrewed loop around the moon that is expected to fly no earlier than 2020, with test crewed missions expected later in the 2020s.