Mike Okuda To Receive NASA Public Service Medal | TrekMovie.com
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Mike Okuda To Receive NASA Public Service Medal June 3, 2009

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Celebrity,Science/Technology,TOS Remastered , trackback

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


1. MP - June 3, 2009

Congrats, Mr. Okuda!!!

2. Alex Prewitt - June 3, 2009

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.

3. Capt Mike of the Terran Empire - June 3, 2009

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

4. MORN SPEAKS - June 3, 2009

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

5. Schultz - June 3, 2009

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

6. Rick Carthew - June 3, 2009

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!

7. Mike - June 3, 2009

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

8. I Am Morg Not Eymorg - June 3, 2009

Congratulations, Mike Okuda!

9. JeFF - June 3, 2009

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

10. Rusbeh - June 3, 2009

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

11. Newman - June 3, 2009

Congratulations Mr. Okuda you deserve it!!!

12. dayxday - June 3, 2009

Wow! Congrats Mr. Okuda!

13. carol marcus - June 3, 2009

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.

14. Lt. Bailey - June 3, 2009

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.

15. D - June 3, 2009

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

16. David_Alexander - June 3, 2009

Anyone else think that the bottom left patch in http://img.trekmovie.com/images/sciencesaturday/okuda-patch.jpg looks like the phasers in the new movie?

17. Chancellor G - June 3, 2009

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

18. 8of12 - June 3, 2009

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.

19. Geoffers - June 3, 2009

Fantastic and well deserved sir! Many congratulations.

20. Plum - June 3, 2009

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

21. The Governator - June 3, 2009


22. Hat Rick - June 3, 2009

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.

23. Viking - June 3, 2009

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.

24. The Original Spock's Brain - June 3, 2009

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

25. I'm dead Jim - June 3, 2009

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!

26. jonboc - June 3, 2009

Congrats Mike Okuda!

27. The Rusted Robot - June 3, 2009

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?

28. LoyalStarTrekFan - June 3, 2009

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.

29. Mike Okuda - June 3, 2009

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.

30. Dennis Bailey - June 3, 2009

Congratulations, Mike!

31. Shunnabunich - June 3, 2009

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. :)

32. Tony Whitehead - June 3, 2009


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.

33. Greg2600 - June 3, 2009

Great news for Mike! His Trek work is outstanding.

34. Sean4000 - June 3, 2009

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

35. VZX - June 3, 2009

Congrats, Mr. Okuda!

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

36. Daoud - June 3, 2009

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!

37. Robogeek - June 3, 2009

Congratulations, Mike!

I salute you from afar. Bravo!

38. cagmar - June 4, 2009

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!

39. ken1w - June 4, 2009

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.

40. I am Kurok! - June 4, 2009

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

41. swh1939 - June 4, 2009


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.

42. Greg Stamper - June 4, 2009

Congrats Mr. Okuda, what a tremendous honor!

43. Crusade2267 - June 4, 2009


44. Selor - June 4, 2009


45. The Original Spock's Brain - June 4, 2009

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

46. Holger - June 4, 2009

Congratulations to Mike Okuda! Your work is excellent.

47. Felkin - June 4, 2009

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

48. Dr. Image - June 4, 2009

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

49. falcon - June 4, 2009

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.)

50. John James - June 4, 2009

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!!

51. Millennium Vulcan - June 4, 2009

As a young boy I would obsess over Trek technical manuals. Since then the Okuda name (both he & his wife) and influence has loomed large in my Trek universe.

Mr. Okuda and his wife have made extensive contributions to Trek. A truly creative and intelligent couple.

52. dharmaworkman - June 4, 2009

This is great! I’ve always been a fan of his work. I love his text commentaries for the movie/show dvd’s too….anyone know it he will do the same for the new Trek movie dvd?

53. noirgwio - June 5, 2009

Applauds and congats to Mr. Okuda! I have long admired he and his wife’s contributions to Trek. Whenever one of those behind the scenes features, whether on tv or dvd/bd, I always seek out the Okudas first! I enjoy thier insights, opinions and the stories they tell, as well seeing what work they’ve done up close. I also have always been intrigued and interested in NASA and space, etc. So I share many posters’ happiness over this. I don’t know if thier works previous has been awarded justly, I really think they both are most deserving of props (no pun intended) all around!

54. I am Kurok! - June 5, 2009

I like the fact that some of the new patches borrow from history (just at the ST ones do.) NASA buffs will note that the Spaceflight Training Management Office patch harkens to the Gemini 7 patch, and the Altair Patch uses the Apollo 11 Eagle. The EVA Systems patch is an update of the original Shuttle Project patch which featured that DaVinci human form.

I love the new project patches, and hope that they are or will be for sale at JSC or KSC.

Many of the dataplates and “Okudagrams” where ‘fine print’ is involved often include inside jokes and silly passages. I’d get a kick out of one going on one of the new modules. it wouldn’t be the first time: during the Apollo 12 EVA the TV audience was puzzled by astronauts laughing to themselves not knowing that the backup crew (who often played little harmless pranks on the prime crew) had inserted a cutout from Playboy Magazine into the Lunar checklist.

55. Izbot - June 5, 2009

Once more life imitates Trek — in the best possible way! Congrats Mr. Okuda!!

56. I have been, and always will be, a Trekkie - June 5, 2009

Sincere Congratulations, Mr. Okuda!

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