NASA brings famous 'worm' logo out of retirement for crewed SpaceX mission

Worm fans, rejoice. NASA's vintage logo is now gracing a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
Enlarge Image

It's a beautiful sight. NASA's classic "worm logo" is emblazoned on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will launch Crew Dragon astronauts to the ISS. 


NASA's famous red "worm" logo has been mothballed since 1992, but it's about to make a glorious return to service just in time for the critical crewed SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station.

NASA delivered an appropriately enthusiastic announcement titled "The Worm is Back!" on Thursday. "It seems the worm logo wasn't really retired. It was just resting up for the next chapter of space exploration," NASA said.

The iconic worm logo came about in 1975 when NASA was looking for a simplified image to use in place of its usual insignia, nicknamed the "meatball." You will recognize that one, too. It's the blue disc with the stars, red chevron and "NASA" in the middle. The meatball, which dates to the 1950s, is the main image NASA rocks today.

The worm is still famous, though. It's a popular choice for NASA t-shirts and merchandise.

"The retro, modern design of the agency's logo will help capture the excitement of a new, modern era of human spaceflight," said NASA while sharing a photo of the worm emblazoned on the side of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will carry astronauts to the ISS. 

The Demo-2 mission will be the first crewed launch from US soil since the end of the shuttle era in 2011. Two NASA astronauts will ride in a SpaceX Crew Dragon to the station. The mission is scheduled to launch no earlier than May.

If Demo-2 goes well, NASA will look ahead to regular operational flights of Crew Dragon as part of its Commercial Crew Program. 

One thing is certain: NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, the Demo-2 crew, will be traveling to space in style.

NASA says goodbye to Spitzer: See the telescope's most astounding images

See all photos