April 17 - May 3, 1998

Crew & Mission

(Left) Five astronauts, two payload specialists and two alternate payload specialists take a break in training for the Neurolab mission to pause for a crew portrait. The Spacelab mission is scheduled to be conducted aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia on STS-90 in early spring of this year. Astronauts Richard A. Searfoss and Scott D. Altman are the commander and pilot, respectively, for the scheduled 16-day mission. Other crew members are payload specialist James A. (Jim) Pawelczyk, Ph.D.; and astronauts Richard M. Linnehan, Kathryn P. Hire and Dafydd R. (Dave) Williams, all mission specialists; along with payload specialist Jay C. Buckey, Jr., MD. Williams, an alumnus of the 1995 class of astronaut candidates (ASCAN), represents the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Alexander Dunlap, DVM, MD (Alternate PS1) and Chiaki Mukai, MD, PhD of Japan (Alternate PS2) are also on the photo.

(Right) The crew of STS-90 on the set of Star Trek; Voyager at Paramount (1998).(The copyright of this photo belongs to Paramount, and we use it hopefully with permission).

The Artwork

(STS090-S-001 -December 1997) --- The STS-90 crew patch reflects the dedication of the mission to the neurosciences in celebration of the Decade of the brain. Earth is revealed through a neuron-shaped window, which symbolizes new perspectives in the understanding of nervous system development, structure and function, both here on Earth and in the microgravity environment of space. The Space Shuttle Columbia is depicted with its open payload bay doors revealing the Spacelab within. An integral component of the mission, the laboratory/science module provided by the European Space Agency (ESA), signifies the strong international involvement in the mission. The seven crew members and two alternate payload specialists, Chiaki Naito-Mukai and Alexander W. Dunlap, are represented by the nine major stars of the constellation Cetus (the whale) in recognition of the International Year of the Ocean. The distant stars illustrate the far reaching implications of the mission science to the many sponsoring agencies, helping prepare for long-duration space flight aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The moon and Mars are depicted to reflect the crew's recognition that those two celestial bodies will be the next great challenges in human exploration of space and represent the key role that life science research will play in supporting such missions.

A Personal Story...

..."The blue "splotch" background of STS-90 is shaped roughly like a neuron (nerve cell), with the line of Columbia's flight along the long axis (axon) and branching out toward Earth of the dendrites, symbolic of the value to the people of the Earth of this space-based research. As an aside, Scott Altman and Kay Hire, both with a Navy background, really wanted blue and gold on the patch (U.S. Navy colors). Even though I was Air Force, I was fine with that. My main criteria for patch approval were: good contrast between edge of patch and blue NASA flighsuit, well-composed artistically, preferably with 3D look to it (notice all 3 of my mission patches are that way - my influence at play), names large enough to be easy to read. I've had many comments from NASA and contractor people that they thought the STS-90 patch was one of the best ever.

Dave Williams, assisted by a professional Canadian artist friend, did the STS-90 patch"...

Astronaut Rick Searfoss, June 2001.