SpaceX Rocket Carries Shipment of 'Star Wars' Patches to the ISS

Sunday, 17 December 2017 - 3:53PM
SpaceX
Science of Star Wars
Sunday, 17 December 2017 - 3:53PM
SpaceX Rocket Carries Shipment of 'Star Wars' Patches to the ISS
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CASIS/Lucasfilm
Friday, December 15 marked the day that Star Wars: The Last Jedi hit theaters, but it also marked another Star Wars milestone: it's the day a bunch of official patches shaped like the Millennium Falcon were shipped off to the International Space Station.

The ISS loves its annual mission patches, and a few months ago, it was announced that the official patches this year would be themed after the galaxy, far, far away, since it's no surprise that so many people who work in spaceflight are Star Wars fans. Those were finally shipped this weekend, as a recycled SpaceX Falcon rocket was historically launched to the ISS from Cape Canaveral to deliver a shipment of supplies, including a couple hundred patches.

And yes, Elon Musk named his Falcon rocket after the Millennium Falcon, because this all manages to connect back around somehow. The actual supplies themselves were carried in an unmanned Dragon capsule attached to the Falcon, which has its own sci-fi inspirations.


The patch design was a collaboration between Lucasfilm and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which oversees the U.S. National Laboratory onboard the ISS. Besides the Millennium Falcon shape, it has a color scheme based on Tatooine's binary sunset, as well as silhouettes of the Death Star and the ISS (an unusual juxtaposition for ISS scientists to wear on their jackets) and the droids BB-8, K-2SO from Rogue Oneand Chopper from Rebels.

Lucasfilm's Star Wars Vice President and Executive Creative Director Doug Chiang worked on the design, which he described as follows in a press statement:

Opening quote
"One of the reasons George Lucas created Star Wars was to inspire a sense of romance and adventure of space exploration for a new generation of space explorers. The patch design is meant to evoke this same spirit of wonder when Luke Skywalker looked out to the twin suns of Tatooine. The silhouetted droids and ISS set against a sunset sky with echoes of the Death Star and Millennium Falcon – two iconic Star Wars vehicles that still captivate us – reflect this memorable scene."
Closing quote


This isn't the first time CASIS has added sci-fi inspirations to their annual mission patches either. Last year, they worked with another Disney property, Marvel, to create a patch featuring the ISS alongside Groot and Rocket Raccoon from Guardians of the GalaxySo this current patch isn't completely out of the blue.

While a big deal for Star Wars fans in space, the Falcon launch was also a big deal for SpaceX - they'd successfully launched and landed used rockets in the past, but this was the first time NASA allowed them to launch something to the International Space Station using a recycled rocket. So it's just a bonus that it happened to carry Star Wars patches the day The Last Jedi came out.

And while it's now available for anyone on Earth to go see, Disney and NASA are also working to send a copy of The Last Jedi up to the space station at some point.

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Science of Star Wars
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