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Shuttle and souvenirs at space station

December 11, 2006 — Roman has a recording. Sunita's got her snapshots. And Bill has his banner from up north.

The STS-116 crew, living aboard Discovery and docked with the International Space Station, has mementos and favorite items packed with them.

Launched on the evening of December 9, the six member crew has also delivered supplies for the ISS, a new truss segment, and a new station resident, who will stay on the ISS when Discovery returns to Earth.

For STS-116 commander Mark "Roman" Polansky, pilot Bill Oefelein and their four crewmates, the mementos in their personal preference kits (PPKs) and in the Official Flight Kit (OFK) are souvenirs of their just begun 12-day mission to be given to family, friends, and organizations that they support. For Sunita Williams, who moved onto the ISS on Monday, they'll act as reminders of home for the duration of her six-month stay.

"We all have a small amount that we can take up on shuttle," Williams told collectSPACE. "For the station we have a little extra [room] that we can take up of stuff that we can really use while we are up there, like a ball cap or whatever."

"Its just like your office, where you have pictures of your family or little things that are mementos to you and some of that stuff is a little extra for station crew members [as] we are going to be there for a longer period of time," said Williams.

The photos she has brought with her include a special member of the Williams' family: her "crazy" Jack Russell Terrier named Gorby.

"Unfortunately, I cannot bring my dog [with me] but there will be a lot of pictures of my dog up there."

Williams also has a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, a small statue of Lord Ganesh and a letter written in Hindi by her father, representing her half-Indian heritage.

For her six other crew mates, "house guests" to her new home, their mementos are stowed and along for the ride.

Most have packed items for their hometowns, states and countries.

For three-time flyer Bob "Beamer" Curbeam, that means continuing a tradition. "Every flight that I have been on, I always take in my OFK a U.S. Virgin Islands flag," said the mission specialist and spacewalker. "My grandfather is from there, so I always take a flag from there."

"Whenever I fly my last [mission], after that I will return it to the governor and life will be good."

Similarly, Polansky, as the only other experienced crew member, extended a custom of honoring his home state.

"I flew things for my high school on my first mission. Since I grew up in Edison [New Jersey], I am flying an item for the Thomas Edison museum in the hometown. I believe we are flying a state flag for the governor. There's always a Jersey connection in there somewhere," shared commander Polansky.

Described in the OFK manifest as a "blue plastic cast cylinder" that is 4.25 inches long and 2 inches diameter, Polansky's item for the Thomas A. Edison Menlo Park Museum is likely a wax cylinder for the phonograph, the recording device invented by Edison.

For two crew members, the items they fly represent their status as the first astronaut from their region.

Oefelein is the first to hail from the 49th state.

"Its one of the fortunate things about being in the Navy. I'm still an Alaskan resident and can still maintain my residency up there... so I am taking something up for the state."

Indeed, six of the items in the OFK were borrowed from Anchorage, including a city medallion and a white shuttle patch from the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska.

Christer Fuglesang, the first Swede in space, has a full compliment of items from his nation.

"I am bringing... the Stockholm city flag with me for the town council there. I have a Swedish national flag I am flying for the Parliament," Fuglesang told to reporters.

"I have some things for some of the universities there, which I have been either studying to or earn a doctorate from a university in northern Sweden called the Umeå University, and the other ones are Stockholm University and the Royal Institute of Technology. Those are some other things I am flying for Sweden," said the European Space Agency astronaut.

In addition to home states and countries, some are also flying items for their families.

"I'm taking some things for my wife and kids. I'll probably take a few photographs for my parents," Nick Patrick, a mission specialist, told collectSPACE before the mission.

The items Joan Higginbotham decided to take were very personal to her. "Your space to take personal items is so limited and I struggle with that," she admitted.

"I am taking a picture of my father who passed away five years ago. I am [also] taking a White Sox cap from the World Series," the Chicago native said.

"I am also taking a shirt that I had gotten from our family reunion. I am taking it because my dad designed it when we went to our reunion back eons ago."

"It's a light purple shirt, and on the front is the skyline of Chicago and it's the neatest design I have ever seen. Of course, I am a little biased," said Higginbotham.

The STS-116 Official Flight Kit Manifest

The following is the STS-116 Official Flight Kit manifest, as provided by NASA. Inventory numbers that are missing indicate items that were removed prior to launch.

No.   Description   Sponsor/Purpose
  1. 625 STS-116 Crew Patches
  2. 25 Expedition 14 Patches
  Agency Presentation
2.   600 Small United States Flags   Agency Presentation
3.   3 Sets U.S. States & Territories Flags   Agency Presentation
4.   3 Sets United Nations Members Flags   Agency Presentation
  1. 20 Small Texas Flags
  2. 20 Small JSC Medallions (in Lucite)
  3. 10 U.S.-Sweden Friendship Pins
  4. 5 U.S.-Germany Friendship Pins
  5. 1 Large Pewter NASA Medallion
  6. 1 Large Bronze NASA Medallion
  Agency Presentation
6.   10 Each Small Flags of the Following States:
  1. New Jersey
  2. Texas
  3. Alaska
  4. Maryland
  5. Illinois
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Ohio
  Agency Presentation
7.   Small Flags of the Following Countries:
  1. 5 France
  2. 5 Czech Republic
  3. 50 Sweden
  4. 5 Denmark
  5. 5 Slovenia
  6. 5 Norway
  7. 5 Finland
  8. 30 United Kingdom
  9. 30 Scotland
  10. 5 India
  11. 30 Spain
  12. 5 Switzerland
  13. 30 Germany
  14. 5 Peru
  Agency Presentation
8.   Small Military Flags:
  1. 10 U.S. Air Force
  2. 40 U.S. Navy
  3. 10 U.S. Marine Corps
  4. 10 U.S. Army
  5. 10 U.S. Coast Guard
  Agency Presentation
  1. 10 Small United States Flags
  2. 10 Small Alabama State Flags
  3. 40 Small STS-116 Crew Patches
  Marshall Space Flight Center Presentation
10.   250 Small SPACE CAMP Flags   MSFC and U.S. Space & Rocket Center
  1. 10 Small Louisiana State Flags
  2. 10 Small Mississippi State Flags
  3. 5 Small NASA Flags
  4. 5 Small United States Flags
  Stennis Space Center Presentation
  1. 200 Silver Snoopy Pins
  2. 100 Small Discovery Flags
  3. 100 Small ISS Flags
  Space Flight Awareness Presentation
13.   50 EVA Patches   Agency Presentation
14.   DELETE  
15.   25 Center Operations Patches   Agency Presentation
  1. 25 STS-116 Crew Patches
  2. 55 Small U.S. Flags
  3. 50 DoD Space Test Program STP-H2 Patches
  4. 10 Space & Missle System (SMC) Coins
  DoD Presentation
17.   15 STS-116 Crew Patches   United Space Alliance Presentation
  1. 30 ESA Patches (Polyester)
  2. 4 ESA Patches (Embroidered)
  3. 1 Small Stuffed Lion Mascot
  4. T-Shirt
  5. 38 Expedition 13 Patches
  6. 50 Celsius Patches
  European Space Agency Presentation
Items 19 through 87 are manifested at the request of the STS-116 crewmembers.
19.   Blue Plastic Cast Cylinder (4.25"x2"D)   Thomas A. Edison Menlo Park Museum, Edison, NJ
20.   White, Green and Purple Mouse Pad   The International School of Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
21.   Red, White and Blue Flag with Alamo Scene   City of San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
22.   Stuffed Bear (8"x3")   United States Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC
23.   United States Flag (3'x5')   Houston Fire Department, Houston, TX
24.   United States Flag (3'x5')   Food Safety Net, San Antonio, TX
25.   Texas State Flag (3'x5')   Agri-West Corporation, San Antonio, TX
26.   Silver City Medallion   City of Auriol, France
27.   Green Plastic Expandable Sphere   Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, NJ
28.   New Jersey State Flag (23.5"x36")   Office of the Governor, Trenton, NJ
29.   Tapestry with School Bus Picture (18"x18.5")   Conoco Phillips Alaska, Anchorage, AK
30.   Orange School Banner   West Anchorage High School, Anchorage, AK
31.   Black, Yellow and White VF-31 Patch   VF-31 Squadron, Virginia Beach, VA
32.   White Shuttle Patch   Challenger Learning Center of Alaska, Anchorage, AK
33.   Blue, Gold and White Patch   176th Wing, Alaska Air National Guard, Kulis ANG Base, AK
34.   Blue VFA-146 Patch with Yellow Letters   VFA-146 Squadron, Lenmoore, CA
35.   Red, White and Blue Patch with Red Letters   National Science Foundation, Washington, DC
36.   Oregon State University Bronze Medallion   Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
37.   Alaska Civil Air Patrol Gold Medallion   Alaska Civil Air Patrol, Anchorage, AK
38.   City of Anchorage Medallion   City of Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
39.   Red and White National Flag of Peru (35.5"x58")   Government of Peru, Lima, Peru
40.   Green Washington State Flag (36"x58")   Office of the Secretary of State, Olympia, WA
41.   White Flag with Emblem (36"x23")   The World Tae Kwon Do Federation, Seoul, Korea
42.   Blue Flag with White Cross (64"x36")   Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, Scotland
43.   Red, White and Blue British Flag (58"x34")   British Embassy, Washington, DC
44.   Blue and White Museum of Flight Flag (13"x45")   Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA
45.   Blue School Flag (36"x58")   Harrow School, London, UK
46.   Blue Royal Air Force Ensign (6"x6")   Royal Air Force, London, UK
47.   Red, White and Blue Burgee (18"x12.5")   The American Yacht Club, Rye, NY
48.   Blue Scarf with Red and Yellow Stripes   University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
49.   Blue Kenosha News Paper Route Bag (28"x14")   Kenosha News/United Communications, Kenosha, WI
50.   Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory Foam Board Placard   Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, Houston, TX
51.   Quilt Piece (6"x6")   Seabrook Intermediate School, Seabrook, TX
52.   Princeton University Bronze Medallion   Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
53.   Olympic Park Institute White Flag (4"x6")   Olympic Park Institute, Port Angeles, WA
54.   2006 Final Four Championship Game Ticket   National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, IN
55.   White and Black Banner (3'x5')   African-American Society, Princeton, NJ
56.   St. Thomas Flag (21.5"x33")   Island of St. Thomas, St. Thomas, VI
57.   Gold and Maroon Flag (48"x73")   Cosmo Club of Washington, Washington, DC
58.   White School Banner (6.5"x29")   Rymdgymnasiet, Kiruna, Sweden
59.   Green and White Flag (3'x5')   Awty International School, Houston, TX
60.   Swedish National Flag (28"x48")   The Swedish Parliament, Stockholm, Sweden
61.   Universitet Flag (36"x42")   Stockholm Universitet, Stockholm, Sweden
62.   Gold Pin   Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden
63.   Red and White Society Pennant (8"x13")   Sailing Society of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden
64.   Black and Orange Patch   Fysiksektionen, KTH (Student body of the School of Physics), Stockholm, Sweden
65.   Black and White Poster (19"x17")   Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
66.   Gold "IVA" Lapel Pin   Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden
67.   Blue Flag (6.25"x6.25")   Stockholm City, Stockholm, Sweden
68.   Red, White and Blue Flag (7.25"x5.25")   Norsk Romcenter, Oslo, Norway
69.   Blue School Banner (36"x31")   Whitney M. Young High School, Chicago, IL
70.   T-Shirt   Hands of Worldwide, Carlisle, MA
71.   Jersey   Chicago White Sox, Chicago, IL
72.   Scanned Image of Bessie Coleman's Pilot License   DuSable Museum of African American History, Chicago, IL
73.   Sorority Banner (13"x60")   Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Washington, DC
74.   Photocopy of Members of The Links, Inc. (8.5"x11")   The Links, Incorporated, Washington, DC
75.   Poster (26"x19.5")   National Council of Negro Women, Inc., Washington, DC
76.   Alabama State University History on Paper (8.5"x11")   Alabama State University, Chicago, IL
77.   White Needham Town Flag (35"x60")   The Needham Historical Society, Inc., Needham, MA
78.   Blue Banner (3'x5')   U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
79.   Pennant (30"x11")   Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL
80.   Leather Key Chain with Gold Emblem   United States Marshals Service, Washington, DC
81.   Leather Key Chain with Gold Emblem   United States Marshals Service, Portland, OR
82.   Gold Astronaut Pin   Agency Presentation
83.   Gold Astronaut Pin   Agency Presentation
84.   Gold Astronaut Pin   Agency Presentation
85.   Gold Astronaut Pin   Agency Presentation
86.   Gold Astronaut Pin   Agency Presentation
87.   Gold Wings   Agency Presentation
Items 88 through 94 are manifested at the request of the STS-116 payload customers.
88.   300 Sheets of Bookmarks   JSC Shuttle Program Presentation
  1. 100 ISS-12A.1 Mission Patches
  2. 25 ISS-12A.1 Mission Pins
  JSC/OC ISS Customer Presentation
  1. 200 STS-116 Crew Patches
  2. 200 STS-116 Mission Pins
  JSC/OC Cargo Mission Contract Presentation
  1. 200 STS-116 Crew Patches
  2. 250 STS-116 Mission Pins
  3. 50 3-D Holographic Cards
  4. 100 STARS Decals
  JSC/OC/SPACEHAB Presentation
  1. 100 Flags (75 U.S., 25 Colorado)
  2. 50 Syncrhonized Position Experiment Patches
  3. 35 TRAC Decals
  JSC/OC/OZ Utilization Presentation
93.   100 ISS Research and Technology Patches   JSC/OC/OZ Utilization Presentation
  1. 25 Space Test Program Payload Patches
  2. 15 Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment Patches (2 ANDE, 1 NRL, 2 STP, 10 STP-H2)
  3. 50 Elastic Memory Composite Hinge Payload Patches
  JSC/OC/OZ/DoD Presentation
STS-116 OFK Addendum: Expedition 14 Crewmember Sunita Williams (Up on STS-116 — Over to ISS — Down TBD)

Expedition 14 — ISS Official Flight Kit (OFK)
1.   USNA Flag (3'x5')   United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
2.   New England Patriots Baseball Cap   New England Patriots, Foxborough, MA
3.   WHOI T-Shirt   Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA
4.   Florida Tech Baseball Cap   Florida Tech, Melbourne, FL
5.   B 2004 World Series Champion Beanie Cap   Red Sox, Kenmore Square, Boston, MA
6.   Needham T-shirt   Needham School District, Needham, MA
STS-116 OFK Addendum: Expedition 14 Crewmember Michael Lopez-Alegria (Up on STS-116 — Over to ISS — Down TBD)

Expedition 14 — ISS Official Flight Kit (OFK)
1.   USNA Banner (2'x3')   United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
2.   2005 Championship Pennant   Houston Astros, Houston, TX
3.   Pelican Aviation T-Shirt   Pelican Aviation, Acadiana, LA
4.   Cloth Banner (1.5'x1.5')   Sociedad Astronomica Y Geografica, De Ciudad Real, Spain

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