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What does the red swoosh in NASA’s ‘meatball’ logo mean?

The distinctive red shape wasn’t just a designerly flourish, it was actually inspired by a model for a supersonic plane being tested in the wind tunnels at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

An Ames wind-tunnel model of a radical supersonic airplane configuration designed for efficient flight at Mach 3

From Gizmodo:

James J. Modarelli, head of the Research Reports Division at the NASA Lewis Research Center (now the NASA Glenn Research Center), was the chief designer of the NASA seal and meatball insignia. In July 1958, Modarelli attended the triennial inspection of the AAL, during which facilities and research efforts within the NACA were highlighted and discussed for invited guests in the scientific community. […] During the Ames meeting, Modarelli participated in a tour consisting of nine stops for presentations on topical research activities. At the Ames Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel, he viewed an Ames exhibit featuring a discussion by Ames researchers on current advanced supersonic aircraft technology. On display was an Ames wind-tunnel model of a radical supersonic airplane configuration designed for efficient flight at Mach 3. Featuring a cambered and twisted arrow wing with an upturned nose, the sleek model deeply impressed Modarelli as a symbol of the leading-edge aeronautical efforts of the NACA.

See also

…and other posts tagged ‘space’.

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