NASA Had Some Fun With The STS-114 Official Photo
It's hard to see in the
Aero-News 400-pixel limit, but the official photo of the STS-114
Crew is loaded with symbology... and maybe a few Easter Eggs that
reward the hunt.
The first thing you notice is that six astronauts are dressed in
orange spacesuits, and two in white ones. There's meaning to that!
The white suits are Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) suits, and the
two men wearing them in the photo are indeed the astronauts
scheduled to take a [space] walk under the stars -- three of them,
in fact. Left: Steve Robinson; right: Soichi Noguchi.
If you look at the astronauts, you'll notice that every one of
them has the mission patch on his or her chest, and most of them
have the US flag on their left shoulders. The exception is the big
guy in the EVA suit on the right; he has no American flag, but a
Well, that "red dot" is the ancient symbol of Japan, the Rising
Sun, and that's because that fellow is a Japanese Aerospace
Exploration Agency astronaut.
The other five astronauts are wearing the orange pressure suits
worn for ascent and descent. (In orbit, the astronauts are often in
a shirtsleeve environment; the high-risk operations of launch and
recovery are when they wear the bulky pressure suits). From left to
right those astronauts are: Pilot Tom "Vegas" Kelly, Mission
Specialists Andy Thomas, Wendy Lawrence, and Charlie Camarda, and
mission commander Eileen M. Collins.
Two of the astronauts are holding helmets on their knees. These
are the pilots! Left, Tom Kelly, and right, mission commander
Eileen Collins. If you look carefully at the insignia they wear,
you can see that the pilots wear different wings from those worn by
the mission specialists.
But there's something unusual about those helmets! Take a look
-- each one has an illustration on its visor. Tom Kelly's helmet
displays the International Space Station, which STS-114 is
scheduled to visit and resupply, and Eileen Collins's has a Shuttle
That's the kind of imagination that everybody in the space
program used to have. And... maybe they still do!