Anton Shkaplerov and Terry Virts: do you recognize them? They are Samantha Cristoforetti’ s fellow mission members. They were assigned the Soyuz TMA-15M mission that, in late November, will take them to the International Space Station.
Imagine them designing the mission patch for the Soyuz that will take them to space. What do you think they will desing? Here’s a clue: Samantha, Terry and Anton are not just astronauts, but also pilots. Do you have an idea? Here’s another hint: they all wanted to focus on the concept of balance.
At this point, if you are a fan of flight simulators, you might have guessed what it might look like. Here is a third clue. imagine three tennis players inspired by their tennis racket.. Or three cyclists had taken the handlebar as a suggestion. Is it clear? No? Okay, will tell you: do you know the instrument on an aircraft’s dashboard showing the vehicle’s attitude during the flight? Yes, the one that tells the pilot the aircraft is pointing in the right direction? It is one of the most important tools for a pilot: the attitude indicator or artificial horizon.
Samantha, Terry and Anton were inspired by just that. As if they are telling us: we go to space, but we need balance and technology.
Thanks to graphic design of Riccardo Rossi, the horizontal reference lines in the indicator are represented by the Soyuz itself and its solar panels, while the angular scales represent the angles of pitch and roll. The Soyuz corresponds to a roll angle of 15° and 15 is the serial number of this Soyuz TMA and a pitch angle of 51° which corresponds to the inclination of the orbit with respect to the equator.
But that’s not all. As in a medieval bestiary, there are countless other references and symbols. For example, the Sunrise depicts awareness and renewal, while the three stars more evident near the constellations of Auriga and Cassiopeia, represent the spaceflight dreams of the astronauts. As if their dreams had become stars.
Finally, the total number of stars corresponds to the last two digits of the launch year (2014), and – if we include the Sun – the last two digits of the year during which they will return (2015).
Finally, one last significant note. Look at the shadow of the Soyuz. It is not in the form of the Russian capsule but it has the shape of an airplane. In particular, it combines elements of a Russian MiG-29, a US F-16 and an Italian AMX, to underline the inextricable link between aviation and spaceflight.