Science Art: UCF Space Game football uniform, 2019

Scientific illustration as football uniform: the UCF Space Game 2019 uniform

Scientific illustration as football uniform: the UCF Space Game 2019 uniformClick to embiggen vastly

UCF, the University of Central Florida, is the university closest to the Kennedy Space Center, and has a rivalry with the *other* space-launch city, Houston, that’s played out annually in the “Space Game.”

For this year, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that put the first human being on the moon, the Knights unveiled a new “Space Game” uniform with a heck of a lot of symbolism. I first saw the uniform when someone in my Twitter feed liked the way the helmet’s moon had a light side and a dark side, but that was only the beginning. From UCF’s “Rendezvous with the Stars” page:

  • The constellations used represent roads and buildings on campus at UCF, including Orion (the name of the road that circles Spectrum Stadium) with his club or sword drawn at Taurus the bull, the victim of Orion’s strike. Taurus represents the opponent and the conquered.
  • The outline of the Arecibo telescope, the largest fully operational radio telescope on the planet – the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico is under UCF Management
  • The flight coordinates “SS50 R-090/31 LC39A” that shows how the 50-yard line of Spectrum Stadium lines up on the exact latitude as Launch Complex 39A, NASA’s most historic launch pad, 31 miles to the east.
  • A shape of the planet named after UCF (UCF1.01)
  • The sleeves feature a large Pegasus constellation where the Pegasus logo would typically be on our uniforms.

The little smiling guy just below the collar is “The Citronaut,” a mascot who dates back to 1968. The “USA” on the legs is meant to evoke the Saturn V rocket that launched the Apollo 11 moon mission. And the countdown over the visor is, naturally, the school’s area code.

On the back of the helmet, though you can’t see it here, is Neil Armstrong’s famous “One small step for man” quote (or misquote, as the case may be).

And yeah, UCF won yesterday, 44-29.