NASA Missions and the American Flag (Photos)

Identifying Patches


Astronauts John Grunsfeld (at bottom) and Andrew Feustel worked to repair the Hubble Space Telescope with American flags clearly seen on the outside of their spacesuits.



A 209-foot-tall U.S. flag on the side of the 52-story Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) offers a patriot background as an adult osprey carries a fish to its nest on a speaker platform in the Press Site parking lot at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

Team Building


In a what became a traditional astronaut image, the STS-135 and Expedition 28 Crews pose for a photo in a microgravity circle holding a U.S. flag.

On Mars


Viking l's Camera 1 captured sand dunes and large rocks along with the American Flag on the vehicle itself on Mars. The late afternoon sun hangs high in the left of the image.

Star of the Cosmos


The Apollo 17 crew captured this close-up view of the United States flag with the crescent Earth in the background.

From Early On


Buzz Aldrin wears the American flag as he sets out to deploy two of the Early Apollo Scientific Experiments Package (EASEP) during the Apollo 11 mission.

For the Unknown


NASA's two Voyager spacecraft carried mementos of our home planet, including a small American flag, as displayed here by Voyager project manager John Casani in 1977.

Letting Loose


The American flag patch accompanied Ed White on June 3, 1965, as he not only completed America's first extravehicular activity but let go and floated in space for the first time. He drifted and moved himself around the Gemini spacecraft, which traveled 500 miles in the 23 minute event.

Hidden Places


A United States flag decorates the inside of the Mars Pathfinder lander's petals, as seen here at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

For Future Missions


The U.S. flag sits prominently displayed on NASA's first complete Orion crew module atop its service module, inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Facility at Kennedy Space Center.

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Christine Lunsford
Producer and Contributing Writer

Christine Lunsford joined the team in 2010 as a freelance producer and later became a contributing writer, covering astrophotography images, astronomy photos and amazing space galleries and more. During her more than 10 years with, oversaw the site's monthly skywatching updates and produced overnight features and stories on the latest space discoveries. She enjoys learning about subjects of all kinds.