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Mike Okuda To Receive NASA Public Service Medal

Mike Okuda is well known to Trek fans as a designer for Trek on TV and film, author of Star Trek reference books and a producer TOS Remastered. But while Okuda was designing Trek’s fictional future in space, he has also been designing for the real space program today. And now NASA is going to honor Okuda with a special award for all his work.

 

Okuda and NASA
While working with Star Trek, Mike Okuda designed a number of patches and emblems, often using NASA’s long heritage of mission patches as inspiration.


Symbols for Starlfeet and the United Federation of Planets designed by Mike Okuda (click to enlarge)

Eventually Mike got to actually work on the real thing, creating a number of mission patches for NASA. His most recent work was for the STS-125 mission of Space Shuttle Atlantis last month, which repaired and upgraded the Hubble Space Telescope. Okuda worked directly with the crew in designing the mission patch, which can be seen below.


Astronaut John Grunsfeld wearing Okuda-designed patch, during spacewalk for STS-125 (click to enlarge)

The STS-125 patch is just one of many that Okuda has designed over recent years, and for that NASA has chosen to award him the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal, which is described as "An award granted to anyone who was not a Government employee when the service was performed. The award recognizes exceptional contributions to the mission of NASA."


NASA Public Service Award

Okuda and his wife Denise have long been space enthusiasts. They even went out to Florida to watch the launch of STS-125 last month. The Trek vet feels already honored to be involved in the program. Always humble, when asked for a comment on being honored, Okuda tells TrekMovie:

It’s just cool to work with these folks who are really exploring space. I’m constantly amazed at how much hard work and dedication it takes for a safe, successful mission. To be able to contribute to those efforts – even in such a small way – is more fun than you can imagine!

The award will be presented to Okuda at a ceremony on June 9th at Houston’s Johnson Space Center.

TrekMovie would like to send out a big congrats to Mike for this well-deserved award, and a ‘thank you!’ for all his years of service to both the future’s final frontier as well as today space program.

Here is more of Mike’s work for NASA.


Emblems for Johnson Space Center (click to enlarge)


Emblems for NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate(click to enlarge)


Mission patch for Shuttle Atlantis, STS-125(click to enlarge)

 

All images courtesy of Mike Okuda and NASA

Sort by:   newest | oldest
MP
June 3, 2009 3:04 pm

Congrats, Mr. Okuda!!!

Alex Prewitt
June 3, 2009 3:11 pm

He’s a mensch. I’ve had the privilege of trading a few emails with him, and he’s always been gracious with his time and knowledge.

Capt Mike of the Terran Empire
June 3, 2009 3:11 pm

Hey Way to go Mike. You are a very creative and talented man. Great job.

MORN SPEAKS
June 3, 2009 3:16 pm

Congratulations Mr. Okuda!!! Maybe you can fit some time to do more editions of the The Chronology and the Encyclopedia………please!!!

Schultz
June 3, 2009 3:16 pm

I like the Project Constellation designs. Stylee. Anyway, congratz!

June 3, 2009 3:17 pm

Mike…. I want to take this moment to thank you for all your contributions to
the Star Trek franchise— your work on all of the films and all of the
TV shows that followed TOS were truly visionary….you brought the future
to life with your insights on design.

And…. a big congrats to you on the NASA Public Service Award
well done Mike!
Rick

Mike
June 3, 2009 3:23 pm

Yeah!!! What great news! Congratulations Mike!!!

I Am Morg Not Eymorg
June 3, 2009 3:24 pm

Congratulations, Mike Okuda!

JeFF
June 3, 2009 3:32 pm

Great Job Mike! Way to keep us all proud!!!

Rusbeh
June 3, 2009 3:37 pm

Congratulations Mr. Okuda!!!!
A very well deserved award and a huge thank you for all the contributions to Star Trek which helped me believing and seeing the final frontier not only as a TV-show but as a possible future. you really made Trek for me real and are true design giant imo.
All the best from Germany to you and your wife

Newman
June 3, 2009 3:41 pm

Congratulations Mr. Okuda you deserve it!!!

dayxday
June 3, 2009 3:43 pm

Wow! Congrats Mr. Okuda!

carol marcus
June 3, 2009 3:47 pm

someone on youtube did a hilarious mashup of a scene from st2 and the kobayashi maru scene from the new movie. its pretty awesome. i’d post it here but have no idea if i should… if people want to see it and cant find it, i’ll post the link. either way, if you’re a shatner fan and a fan of the new movie you have to see it. made me realize that JJ REALLY knew what he was doing.

Lt. Bailey
June 3, 2009 3:52 pm

Congratulation to Mike Okuda and his wife Denise on this high honor. NASA does not give out any of their medals and decorations easily.

Meeting him and his wife at last years Vegas convention was a treat, real nice people and very kind to everyone, but it was fantastic to listen to their inside info on Star Trek during their session on stage.

When ever I watch the dvds of the films, I click on the text commentary he was done. I don’t care how many times I watch the films, its great to get details you don’t normally have otherwise.

D
June 3, 2009 3:52 pm

I love the Exploration patch…Earth, Luna, Mars and beyond in the flash of a warp jump…

David_Alexander
June 3, 2009 3:53 pm

Anyone else think that the bottom left patch in looks like the phasers in the new movie?

Chancellor G
June 3, 2009 4:01 pm

the sts-125 patch is very cool in person, congratulations mr. okuda

8of12
June 3, 2009 4:11 pm

Yeah – Mike Okuda frickin’ rocks. Him and Denise did awesome w/ the Christie’s auction a couple years ago. And everything else he designs is great.

CONGRATS!! You deserve it. I’m a fan.

Geoffers
June 3, 2009 4:22 pm

Fantastic and well deserved sir! Many congratulations.

Plum
June 3, 2009 4:31 pm

Mike Okuda does rock!. He rocks the NASA house! He’s the shabazz!

How cool is this? I have to hope he has a bright yellow sliding cabinet door opened by large buttons with multicoloured lights above each to store his medals… and that he’ll redesign that with a LCARs interface. ;p

The Governator
June 3, 2009 4:31 pm

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

June 3, 2009 4:40 pm

I’ve actually met Mr. and Mrs. Okuda. They are a wonderful couple and their work is fantastic.

Congratulations on this well-deserved honor, and I cannot wait until I read their next literary contribution to the Trek universe.

June 3, 2009 4:42 pm

Kudos, Mike – your work is fantastic!

#16 – I was just thinking the same thing. LOL

I’d love to take my 12+ years of IT experience and be able to apply it somewhere in the aerospace industry. The closest I ever got to NASA was working as an armed guard at NASA headquarters about 20 years ago. I doubt I’ll get much higher than the top of an aluminum ladder for the rest of my life, but I’d love so see a little bit of my handiwork reach space.

June 3, 2009 5:28 pm

H-Town (a.k.a. Space City U.S.A.) congratulates you Mr. Okuda!

I'm dead Jim
June 3, 2009 5:36 pm

Congrats Mike! I have NASA TV on in my office everyday (I can’t stand to watch tv news anymore). I thought the STS-125 patch looked like your work but wasn’t sure. What a huge honor! I also want to than you for all your contributions to the world of Trek. You are honorable in both worlds IMHO!

jonboc
June 3, 2009 5:59 pm

Congrats Mike Okuda!

The Rusted Robot
June 3, 2009 6:26 pm

Notice how the Spaceflight training management office badge has a picture in the middle that almost looks like an old-school phaser.

Doesn’t it?

LoyalStarTrekFan
June 3, 2009 7:04 pm

The LCARS computer interface was a work of genius, imo, which was designed, at least in part, by Michael Okuda. Further his Federation Starfleet Command seal has always been one of my favorite Star Trek seals of all time. I’m glad they used his UFP seal in the new film and I wish they had used the SFC seal as well. In any case, his hard work over the years is greatly appreciated. This is a well-deserved honor and I’m glad that he’s receiving the NASA Public Service Medal.

Mike Okuda
June 3, 2009 7:33 pm

Thank you all for your kind words! I must admit it was a real thrill to work with these real-life space explorers – both those who get to fly in space, and those who make those flights possible. I’m especially excited to have been able to contribute to Project Constellation, the next generation in human space exploration, which will provide safer transport to the International Space Station, return humans to the Moon, and eventually take us to Mars and beyond.

June 3, 2009 7:41 pm

Congratulations, Mike!

Shunnabunich
June 3, 2009 7:58 pm

Huge props, Mike! There’s no one better or more appropriate to have working on designs for NASA. Hey, next thing you know they’ll be using LCARS in their actual space vehicles. :)

Tony Whitehead
June 3, 2009 8:31 pm

2.

I, too, have traded e-mail correspondence with Mr. Okuda and will back up your statement.

Mike, you are a gracious gentleman who deserves all the credit that comes your way. I am thankful that you and your wife have chosen this career path as it always a pleasure to go through your Star Trek Encyclopedia and check out the entry under “Earth”.

Congrats again, sir.

June 3, 2009 8:35 pm

Great news for Mike! His Trek work is outstanding.

Sean4000
June 3, 2009 8:41 pm

I actually like the hubble patch a lot! Very R2-ish.

VZX
June 3, 2009 8:55 pm

Congrats, Mr. Okuda!

Your designs are terrific and a big part of maintaining that team identity among the crew. Amazing stuff!

Daoud
June 3, 2009 9:33 pm

A perfect example of how Star Trek inspires and uplifts…

Mike, congratulations!! Although history may not always remember Star Trek, your contributions to NASA will live on and on… and I know they’ll keep coming to you for many many years.

Thanks for all the behind the scenes work you do!

Lest we forget too, all the work he did for the Remastered TOS!

June 3, 2009 11:03 pm

Congratulations, Mike!

I salute you from afar. Bravo!

cagmar
June 4, 2009 12:16 am

Super Congratulations, Mike Okuda!

What a talented and dignified individual Mr. Okuda is. I am so pleased he has received this honour and I can’t emphasize enough how much he absolutely deserves it. Cheers!

ken1w
June 4, 2009 4:02 am

I loved reading his text commentary on the special edition DVD releases of Star Trek movies.

I did not know he designed patches for the REAL space program.

Congratulations to Mike Okuda! As a long time “space enthusiast” myself, I can understand that such an award would have great meaning.

I am Kurok!
June 4, 2009 4:27 am

Don’t you love it when the ST universe melds with the real one?

swh1939
June 4, 2009 4:41 am

Congratulations!

I had the pleasure (as did so many others) of meeting Mr. Okuda at the Christie’s auction back in 2006. He was so generous with his time and a true gentleman throughout.

June 4, 2009 5:22 am

Congrats Mr. Okuda, what a tremendous honor!

Crusade2267
June 4, 2009 6:16 am

Congratulations

Selor
June 4, 2009 6:18 am

Congratulations!

June 4, 2009 9:46 am

Mr. Okuda, how did you get involved with NASA?

Holger
June 4, 2009 11:34 am

Congratulations to Mike Okuda! Your work is excellent.

Felkin
June 4, 2009 1:15 pm

Glad to see NASA rewarding people like Mike. Well done!

Dr. Image
June 4, 2009 1:46 pm

Congrats! Real space beats “fake” space any day!
(They REA:LLY could have used you on the new movie.)

June 4, 2009 2:04 pm

Mike, congratulations. I love your designs for NASA. Since they bear a striking resemblance to your Trek work, could this be a case of the present deliberately influencing the future? Or the future being used to change the past?

(Time travel gives me a headache.)

John James
June 4, 2009 3:12 pm

this guy is awesome! Love his commentaries both audio and text! Good job Mike and good job TrekMovie.com for putting the spotlight on him!!

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