For the Dragon Crew mission SpaceX flew a brand new booster (how declasse) B1058 and painted it with the old style NASA Worm logo.

B1058 returning after first flight

SpaceX owns the booster and is most likely to fly it many more times (Goal of 10 flights, highest so far is a couple of boosters making it to 5 flights as of this writing).

Will they remove the NASA logo?

They have barely even cleaned the boosters of the soot, launching them "dirty" on follow up missions.

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting question, I haven't even thought about that until now. $\endgroup$
    – Polygnome
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ I believe the booster has crewed-flight-specific configuration, so I imagine they will normally reuse it on future crewed flights, which are going to be for NASA for the forseeable future, so they may just leave the logos on for the time being. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 18:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Z.Cochrane The space shuttle. Flew crewed from first powered flight/orbital launch, and three more "test flights" in a row on the same hardware, then was declared operational. Reused after flying a much more demanding flight regime than the F9 first stage. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 21:07
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    $\begingroup$ Columbia flew STS-1, -2, -3, -4 with two-person crews; those were called test flights (but from STS-2 on it carried scientific payloads on these missions); it was then declared operational and flew with 4 crew on STS-5. Enterprise flew unpowered drop-approach-landing tests prior to that; these were also all crewed. The shuttle never flew uncrewed in any form -- the technology was there but politics determined that it had to be flown by human pilots. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 21:57
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    $\begingroup$ @geoffc It was actually as of recent (past 2 weeks) confirmed that past post certification mission 2, flown boosters and Dragon capsules can be used for commercial crew flights. twitter.com/nextspaceflight/status/1268316718750814209 $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 23:59

1 Answer 1



Factually, they didn't. It has launched 14 more times with the NASA worm logo still on it, even during Starlink or commercial missions.


Elon Musk, and therefore SpaceX as a whole, are very conservative in weight. This makes sense, as for every 5 non-fuel pounds you add to the first stage of Falcon 9, you lose around a pound in payload. Obviously, this isn't great. Paint has weight. So here is a cost-benefit analysis:

Benefits: The worm logo suggests to some people that NASA owns it. This fixes that misconception.

Costs: Adds weight and therefore reduces payload. This is turn reduces profit from the booster and also means they have to slightly recalculate everything it does (since it has a bit more mass). That can get annoying. Takes time. Since workers time is money, this costs a bunch. Also, although I doubt they care that much about this, it the worm logo does remind people that this is booster was the first launch of the program that gave the USA access to the station by themselves for the first time in 9 years.

So, I think it is clear why SpaceX chose to keep the worm logo on, as the misconception can be very easily fixed (by simply explaining the story).

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the edits, it really improved the clarity @Organic Marble $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 0:31

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