Chalk one more up for Marvel as Rocket Raccoon and Groot from its surprise breakthrough movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, are headed to the International Space Station.
The comic book franchise’s talking raccoon and tree-like creature are now the stars of the mission patch that represents all of the payloads launching in 2016 to the U.S. National Laboratory aboard the orbiting outpost.
Darren Sanchez, a Custom Solutions project manager and editor for Marvel, says that the company is incredibly excited about the whole thing. “The patch is a really cool idea and to utilize a Marvel character for the space station for CASIS, that’s a very cool project.”
Ken Shields, CASIS’s operations and educational opportunities director, says that, “A major mission for us here at CASIS is to find unique and innovative ways to bring notoriety to the International Space Station National Laboratory and the research that is being conducted.” The organization looks forward to Rocket and Groot becoming an inspiration for a new generation of scientists. He adds,
There are very few brands in the world who have as large an impact as Marvel and we are thrilled to partner with them on this project.
The red, white and blue patch shows Rocket sitting on Groot’s shoulder as they look up to the International Space Station. It is the fourth to be designed for CASIS payloads, but the first to have Marvel’s characters. The patch was drawn by Marvel Comics artist Juan Doe.
Sanchez says that Doe was a “great choice” for the patch and was “super excited” about it. Doe’s previous designs had Rocket and Groot dominating the logo, adding the space station later, along with subtle touches. Sanchez says one of his favorite details is the stars in the background that are actually based on the flame from the Guardians of the Galaxy shield.
The Marvel patch represents both payloads that are in orbit and those that will be launched. Over 100 science projects are scheduled to launch and be conducted at the space station this year.
In addition to the patch, CASIS plans on making Rocket and Groot – both of whom come from and exist in space – the center of an education flight contest later in the year that will “inspire, excite and mobilize the next generation of scientists and engineers.”