Press Release

From Worms to Meatballs — NASA Talk Traces Emblematic History

By SpaceRef Editor
July 9, 2013
Filed under , ,
From Worms to Meatballs — NASA Talk Traces Emblematic History
From Worms to Meatballs -- NASA Talk Traces Emblematic History

On Tuesday, July 9, at NASA’s Langley Research Center, retired NASA aerospace engineer Joe Chambers will present, “Wings, Meatballs, Worms and Swooshes: The Unknown Story of the NASA Seal and Insignia,” at 2 p.m. in the Reid Conference Center here.

Chambers will discuss the history and origins of the official NASA seal and the less-formal NASA insignia and how they became two of the most recognized emblems throughout the world.

Chambers will be available to answer questions from the media during a news briefing at 1:15 p.m. Media who wish to do so should contact Chris Rink at 757-864-6786, or by e-mail at, by noon on the day of the talk for credentials and entry to the center.

This evening at 7:30, Chambers will present a similar program for the general public at the Virginia Air & Space Center in downtown Hampton. This Sigma Series event is free and no reservations are required.

Chamber’s presentation will summarize recent research on the history of the development of the logos that include symbols representing space and aeronautics missions — first implemented in 1959 following a NASA-wide design competition. The winning seal design was submitted by James Modarelli of the NASA Lewis (now Glenn) Research Center who was also tasked with designing the less-formal “Meatball” insignia.

Retiring from NASA Langley in 1998, Chambers began his 36-year career in flight dynamics research at the Langley Full-Scale Tunnel. In 1974 he became the head of the Full-Scale Tunnel, the Langley 20-Foot Spin Tunnel, and related outdoor free-flight and drop-model testing. In 1989 he also became head of aircraft flight research at Langley. He served as a representative of the United States on international committees and has given invited lectures on NASA’s aeronautics programs worldwide.

His awards include the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, the Exceptional Service Medal, and the Public Service Medal. He also received the coveted Arthur Flemming Award sponsored by the Washington D.C. Jaycees in 1975 as one of the 10 Most Outstanding Civil Servants for his management of NASA stall/spin research for military and civil aircraft. He is the author of more than 50 NASA technical reports and published eight NASA books on aeronautical topics.

Chambers earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgia Tech and a Master of Science degree from Virginia Tech.

For more information about NASA Langley’s Colloquium and Sigma Series Lectures, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.