As NASA embarks on a new era of space exploration, we will honor the endeavor with unique enterprise and mission insignia as the agency has always done. Designed to inspire the American public and international workforce, two new graphic identifiers were created to symbolize both the Deep Space Exploration Systems, and their maiden voyage together.


Launching from a modernized Kennedy spaceport in the fall of 2019 will be the first integrated flight of the Deep Space Exploration Systems – NASA’s Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and Exploration Ground Systems at NASA Kennedy. The first of a series of proving ground missions, Exploration Mission-1 will provide a foundation to enable Earth independence.


Deep Space Exploration Systems enterpirse Identifier

The overall layout was designed to be an abstract visual story, using simple shapes and colors to translate NASA’s exciting new future in space. The circle shape reflects continuous missions into deep space and symbolizes a gateway to future human exploration. Two blue swatches represent both America’s East and West coasts’ – a symbol of the locations of Kennedy Space Center where missions will launch, and the Pacific Ocean where recovery operations of the Orion spacecraft will occur upon its return from deep space.


The Orion spacecraft is represented by the silver swatch, while the shades of orange embody the fire and launch of NASA’s new Space Launch System rocket, and the power it uniquely provides to transport humans to the moon and beyond.


Mars and the Moon are located in the top right section of the emblem above the arc of the blue Earth. The darker grey area of the Moon depicts Orion’s journey beyond the far side of Earth’s Moon, while the black center depicts the lunar proving ground and long-duration stays in deep space. When interpreted as a whole, the color swatch sequence represents a traditional 3,2,1 rocket launch countdown as a tribute to the heritage of past space exploration missions.


Exploration Mission-1 Identifier

The Exploration Mission-1 artwork showcases the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket carrying the Orion spacecraft and lifting off from Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The triangular shape represents the three main programs that comprise NASA’s Deep Space Exploration Systems: Orion, SLS, and Exploration Ground Systems, and is a classic shape for NASA mission patches emblems dating back to the shuttle era.  


Several elements within the design carry symbolic meaning for this historic flight. The silver highlight surrounding this patch gives nod to the silver Orion spacecraft, including the European Service Module that will be voyaging 40,000 miles past our Earth’s /Moon. The red and blue mission trajectories encompassing the white full Moon proudly emphasizes the hard work, tradition, and dedication of this American led-mission while also embracing NASA’s international partnership with the European Space Agency as both agencies forge a new future in space.


The Exploration Mission-1 emblem was designed in collaboration by the creative team working for the Deep Space Exploration Systems programs located NASA Headquarters in Washington;, Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Johnson Space Center in Houston, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama;, and Kennedy. Because the maiden mission of SLS and Orion is uncrewed, the program teams had the rare opportunity to conceive of the mission identifier. Exploration Mission-2, which will fly with crew, will have insignia designed by NASA’s Astronaut Office with the help of the crew that will fly aboard the most capable deep space system to take flight.