Olympic flag, Olympic Games, Sydney, 2000, polyester, made by Selby's Pty. Ltd, Sydney, c 1995, flown on Space Shuttle flight STS- 101 May 19-May 29 2000
Like the Olympic games, human spaceflight activities at the beginning of the 21st Century are undertaken in a spirit of international co-operation, with the International Space Station, the world's largest current spaceflight project being undertaken by 16 nations. Space Shuttle and Russian Soyuz crews are frequently multi- national. Therefore, the flight of this Olympic flag, carried in conjunction with an Olympic torch, aboard a Space Shuttle traveling to the International Space Station (ISS) is highly symbolic, representing humanity's hopes for a peaceful future of co-operation among nations.
This flag was flown on the Space Shuttle in conjunction with a Sydney Games Olympic torch. The idea of sending an Olympic torch into space was initially conceived by Australian-born NASA Astronaut Dr. Andrew S. W. Thomas, who wished to celebrate the Games' being held in his home country.
When NASA agreed to fly a Sydney Olympic torch to promote the international spirit evinced in both the Games and space flight, SOCOG offered a Sydney 2000 flag as well as providing a torch, the flag being a principal symbol of the spirit of Olympism.
As he was not scheduled for a space mission in the year 2000, Dr. Thomas asked the crew of STS-101 to carry the torch and flag on their flight to the ISS. They were stored together in a mid-deck locker on the Shuttle.
During the STS-101 mission, the flag and torch were removed from storage and displayed on the mid-deck of the Shuttle for a short period. The flag was mounted on the 'rear wall' of the mid-deck as a backdrop for several photographs of crewmembers holding the torch.
Selby's Pty. Ltd, Sydney. The flag is a standard, unmodified Sydney 2000 Olympic flag.
This flag was carried on the STS-101 Space Shuttle mission, launched May 19 2000, landed May 29 2000. Flying the Sydney 2000 flag during the mission was intended to highlight the international spirit of the Olympic Games and the international co-operation of the International Space Station program. (STS-101 was an ISS construction mission with a multi-national crew). The flight of the Sydney Games torch was also intended to draw attention to the Olympic torch relay, which commenced in the Oceania region on May 22, and the several photos taken of the astronauts holding the Olympic torch used this flag as a backdrop. .
Made for and owned by the Olympic Coordination Authority/Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, and donated to the Powerhouse Museum after the Games