The MOD emblem was originally developed for the mission control team in 1973 to recognize their unique contribution to the manned space program, from Mercury, though Gemini, to Apollo. As the Shuttle program completed its Orbital Flight Test program in 1983, the emblem was revised as the Mission Operations Directorate was formed from the consolidation of Flight Control, Mission Control Center facility, and Mission Planning and Design functions at the Johnson Space Center. The Shuttle vehicle became a centerpiece of the design. The following summarizes the significant features for each:lhoo
At the top of the emblem, the Moon and Mars represent our future. It is taken as a given that mankind will one day spread into the heavens, and these elements remind us of our intent to lead the way. The wording RES GESTA PER EXCELLENTIAM on the patch was chosen to stress the very positive attitude used by the mission control team to assure crew safety and mission success. Achieve through Excellence is the standard for our work. It represents an individual's commitment to a belief, to craftsmanship, and to perseverance. With the above qualities, a positive approach is created that assures objective accomplishment and the return of the crew.
The central part of the emblem symbolizes our present responsibilities. The sigma (S) represents the total mission team, including flight controllers, instructors, flight design and production specialists, facility development and support teams, and management. In addition, it represents the individual flight control teams from all programs past, present, and future. Within the teams, it represents all engineering, scientific, and operations disciplines and tasks in support of the spacecraft and aircraft program elements, reminding us that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The Shuttle launch represents the dynamic elements of space, the initial escape from our environment, and the thrust to explore the universe. The four stars on the Shuttle's plume represent the basic principles of the flight control team identified during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs: Discipline, morale, toughness, and competence. Their place along the Shuttle's plume reminds us that these are the foundation upon which each mission is flown. Other characteristics that have since been added to those core principles include confidence, responsibility, and teamwork. Each of these words comes into the flight controller's vocabulary at critical points in their development. In essence, these four stars and words are a continual reminder of the personal characteristics that have made past programs successful and which can never be forgotten if we are to succeed in the future.
The remaining elements are the Earth, the comet, and the stars.
The Earth is our home and will forever be serviced by both manned and unmanned space crafts in order to improve the quality of life of our present home.
A single star is positioned over Houston on the representation of North America, the home of U.S. human spaceflight operations and the first word transmitted from the surface of the moon.
The seventeen stars in the background represent our fallen astronauts, to whom in part we dedicate our commitment to excellence.
The comet represents all those individuals who have given their lives for space exploration. It serves as a reminder of the risks inherent to space flight and recognizes that we of mission operations provide the margin that makes the risk acceptable.
The bottom border of the patch contains symbols to represent the three early programs that have been supported by the team. The Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs, joined by the Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, have seen a succession of many great moments. These programs succeeded because of the dedication of the many people who formed the teams and committed their being to the team.