Drexel students' designs join shuttle's last mission

Ferguson
Ferguson
Posted: July 08, 2011

Riding aboard the Atlantis' final mission, scheduled for this morning. are a few Dragons.

Space-shuttle Commander Christopher Ferguson graduated from Drexel in 1984 with a degree in mechanical engineering. The astronaut - who has logged 27 days in space over three missions, including one aboard the Endeavour from which there's a picture of him wearing a Drexel T-shirt, with Earth in the background - has kept ties to his alma mater. For this Atlantis flight, Ferguson asked Drexel's graphic-design department to create flight-mission patches.

Ferguson is taking two of the patches - designed by Jeremy Bloom and Jennifer Choy - into space today.

Graphic-design-program director Jody Graff and associate professor Don Haring gathered five students who they thought would be interested in the project. The students were given a scant two weeks to research mission patches and create their own.

Haring assembled 15 designs to send off to Ferguson. "All of the designs were interesting interpretations of concepts that had come before but weren't rehashing the same idea," said Haring, who noted that there has been graphic representation of space flight since the first manned mission. "There was deeper thought involved."

Bloom's and Choy's patches aren't the official mission patches. Ferguson is bringing printouts and embroidered patch versions that will reside at the International Space Station for as long as it's in orbit.

Ferguson and his three fellow astronauts will embark on a 12-day voyage aboard Atlantis, bound for the International Space Station with a year's worth of provisions.

"It doesn't suck; it's pretty surreal," Bloom, a junior, said about being chosen. His patch features bright, bold colors and wave shapes to depict power and motion, and is a little more abstract than what he typically designs. "Everything happened so quickly, it just hasn't sunk in. But when it's up there, it'll hit me."

Choy, who was born and reared in Mount Airy and graduated in June, shared Bloom's disbelief about the honor. With her patch, which she dubbed "Space Swan," she wanted to capture with delicate lines the grace and elegance of floating through space.

"Just knowing it's going to be up there is amazing," Choy said.

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