The NASA Supersonic Arrow-Wing
That red arrow in the NASA “meatball” logo isn’t just a fancy design flourish from the 60s, it’s modeled after some of the earliest supersonic swept-wing designs from inside NASA. This one in particular was designed for Mach 3:
James J. Modarelli, head of the Research Reports Division at the NASA Lewis Research Center (now the NASA Glenn Research Center), was the chief designer of the NASA seal and meatball insignia.
At the Ames Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel, he viewed an Ames exhibit featuring a discussion by Ames researchers on current advanced supersonic aircraft technology. On display was an Ames wind-tunnel model of a radical supersonic airplane configuration designed for efficient flight at Mach 3.
All this and more in NASA’s new ebook, Emblems of Exploration, a history of NASA and NACA logos.