DTM's Expedition Flag Makes its Journey Home from the International Space Station

Carnegie Flag

The DTM expedition flag traveled the world on the Carnegie research vessel, accompanied our scientists on fieldwork trips, and last year flew to the International Space Station (ISS). On May 5, 2017, it made its journey home.

Through the generosity of David Thompson, president and CEO of Orbital ATK, Inc., the Carnegie expedition flag traveled to the ISS on a resupply mission that rode aboard Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft launched from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on October 17, 2016. The astronauts onboard the ISS photographed the flag on an ISS window, with the Earth in the background for scale.  

The flag flying in the International Space Station in November of 2016. Photo by Robert S. Kimbrough/NASA ISS.

"The photographs provide a symbolic representation of the current scope of DTM’s research efforts that range from detailed studies of Earth’s interior to the detection of exoplanets and the study of the processes that form planets in our, and in other, solar systems," says Rick Carlson, director of DTM.

The flag is a replica of the ones that accompanied DTM’s expeditions to study Earth and space, on both land and sea. It was registered with the U.S. Bureau of Navigation as the Carnegie Institution's “house flag” in 1909 and has since been carried on many DTM-led field expeditions, including on the research vessel Carnegie, christened in 1909. 

David Thompson (right) shares the flag's journey to ISS with DTM's Alan Boss (center) and Rick Carlson (left) at the toast. Photo by Natasha Metzler, Carnegie Science.

After it's trip to the ISS, it was returned to Kazakhstan, and eventually made its way back to DTM with Thompson on May 5. Upon its return, DTM held a toast to honor its journey to outer space

"We put about 70 million miles on it [the flag]," explains Thompson at the toast. Aboard the ISS, the flag circled the Earth every 90 minutes. 

David Thompson (left) stands with his daughter Maggie Thompson (right) and Rick Carlson (center) at the toast. Photo by Casey Leffue, DTM. 

Now, the flag rests in a frame in our Abelson building directly across from a replica of the Carnegie ship, on which it made its first maiden voyage around Earth. 

May 11, 2017

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