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The first embroidered emblem for the new civilian space agency is known, appropriately enough, as the NASA Original patch. The acronym for which NASA stands is National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It is sewn in white thread in the center of the patch. The overall emblem is round, measuring 2.5" in diameter. The patch has an overlock border, sewn of white thread. Angled around the lettering of the patch can be seen an ellipse, embroidered in white which depicts orbital flight. The ellipse is angled to point northwest and southeast in the plane of the patch. Above and below the lettering can be seen a number of stars, varying in size. They represent the vastness of space and the frontiers of exploration. A red vector completes the design, wrapping the NASA lettering at an angle perpendicular to the white ellipse. The vector represents NASA's trajectory and direction; thus it is naturally pointed upward, on a heading toward the stars.
The NASA logo retained this look through the early missions of the Space Program. In astronaut photos taken during the Mercury and early Gemini flights, it can be seen attached to their spacesuits, just above the left breast. By the Gemini 3 mission a slight design change had the red vector extending beyond the white border of the patch. The patch retained this look until the first Apollo mission, Apollo 7.
The advent of the Apollo program brought about a small change in the NASA logo, which also resulted in a name change, of sorts. The white border surrounding the NASA Original was eliminated. It was replaced with one of royal blue which matches the royal blue twill background of the emblem. The border is oversewn onto an Irregular border. The vector continued to extend well beyond the edges of the patch, causing this version to be dubbed the NASA Extended Vector.
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