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SSTS129-S-001 (June 2009) --- For STS-129, the sun shines brightly on the International Space Station (ISS) above and the United States below, representing the bright future of U.S. human spaceflight. The contiguous U.S., Rocky Mountains and the Great Desert Southwest are clearly visible on the Earth below, encompassing all of the NASA centers and, in the words of the crewmembers, the homes of the many dedicated people who work to make our space program possible. The integrated shapes of the patch signify the two Express Logistics Carriers that will be delivered by STS-129, providing valuable equipment that will ensure the longevity of the ISS. The Space Shuttle is vividly silhouetted by the sun, highlighting how brightly the orbiters have performed as a workhorse for the U.S. Space Program over the past three decades. The Space Shuttle ascends on the astronaut symbol portrayed by the red, white and blue swoosh bounded by the gold halo. This symbol is worn with pride by this U.S. crew, whose members represent their country on STS-129. The names of the crew members are denoted on the outer band of the patch. As STS-129 launches, the Space Shuttle is in its twilight years, and this fact is juxtaposed by the 13 stars on the patch, which are symbolic of the crew's children who represent the future. The moon and Mars feature predominantly to represent just how close humankind is to achieving further exploration of those heavenly bodies, and how the current Space Shuttle and ISS missions are laying the essential groundwork for those future endeavors. The NASA insignia for design for Shuttle flights is reserved for use by the astronauts and for other official use as the NASA Administrator may authorize. Public availability has been approved only in the form of illustrations by the various news media. When and if there is any change in this policy which is not anticipated, it will be publicly announced.
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