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  STS-120: Star Wars Lightsaber patch

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Author Topic:   STS-120: Star Wars Lightsaber patch
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28705
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-29-2007 07:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With STS-120 now back on Earth for a few weeks and the next shuttle mission soon to launch, it seems like a good time to reveal a project that began as a joke among friends and, as of today, went on public display. But I am getting ahead myself...

It all began a few days after we first reported that Discovery would launch Lucasfilm's prop lightsaber in celebration of Star Wars' 30th anniversary. The response to that article drew the largest one-day audience collectSPACE has seen in the past eight years. As such, you could say I had Star Wars 'on the brain' for the following days.

Talking about it with a few friends and cS readers, the idea came about that the official STS-120 patch lent itself nicely to inheriting some Star Wars influences. Working with the original insignia designed by astronaut Michael Foreman and refined by artist Marc Jacobs, I started altering some of its elements, with the most obvious change being made to the orbiter's cargo: instead of the Harmony module, the lightsaber filled the payload bay. Other changes to the insignia's design included:

  • substituting a TIE fighter for the starburst representing the ISS, which was inspired by previous crews' observations that the symmetric station took on the appearance of the Imperial spacecraft;
  • amending the Moon... wait, that's no Moon. It's a space station! to be the Death Star;
  • altering the text that read "STS-120" to "SW-30" for Star Wars' 30th year.

The parody patch would have ended there, as a modified graphic, were it not for the suggestion to see what it might take to have a few patches produced as a gag gift for the crew.

A few calls later, and not only had AB Emblem agreed to partner on the project, but they would also insure that other than the altered icons, the patches would be identical to the ones they had produced for the crew to wear.

AB provided 30 patches, one for each year since Star Wars' original release, and they were shipped just in time for our pre-flight interviews with the STS-120 astronauts. Each were given two patches, which were received with laughter and positive reviews.

Other patches were presented to NASA flight personnel, those cS members who were part of the initial idea, and to Lucasfilm.

Until today, outside of those privy or had been given one, the patches were private.

On Thursday, November 29, the patch went on public display with the flown lightsaber at Space Center Houston as part of a Star Wars exhibit that will be open through January 7, 2008. (A small card describing the history of the patch will be added to the display case soon.)

All 30 patches have either been distributed or reserved, and no more will be produced, per our agreement with AB and Lucasfilm.

Jay Chladek
Member

Posts: 2250
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 11-30-2007 12:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rob, you are one sick dude! In a good way mind you. It is also way too scarey how well the STS-120 patch lent itself to alteration in this way. I guess you guys were using the Force when you designed it.

This particular gag mission patch I put right up there with the Apollo 14 backup crew patch featuring Coyote and Road Runner in terms of its humor potential. Thanks for pulling it off!

Harald Kraenzel
Member

Posts: 286
From: Dinslaken,Germany
Registered: Nov 2005

posted 11-30-2007 01:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Harald Kraenzel   Click Here to Email Harald Kraenzel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, nice idea and great job. Congratulations.

I like the positive way the astronauts react on your presentation. And it's nice to hear AB did it as a partner.

NavySpaceFan
Member

Posts: 635
From: Norfolk, VA
Registered: May 2007

posted 11-30-2007 07:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, you sneaky cuss, what a brilliant idea!!!!!! Did Mr. Lucas receive one of those 30 patches, if so, what did he say? Also, is there a hi-resolution image of the patch? I see a computer wall paper in the future.

Gilbert
Member

Posts: 977
From: Carrollton, GA USA
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 11-30-2007 08:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, that's pretty cool!

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28705
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-30-2007 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by NavySpaceFan:
Did Mr. Lucas receive one of those 30 patches, if so, what did he say?
The patch that is currently on display at Space Center Houston is earmarked to return to Lucasfilm with the flown lightsaber. I haven't heard directly from Lucas regarding the patch, but my contact at Lucasfilm had some very nice things to say about its design.

1202 Alarm
Member

Posts: 278
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 11-30-2007 10:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 1202 Alarm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Isn't the TIE-fighter a spacecraft from the dark side of the Force? hmm....

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28705
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-30-2007 11:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 1202 Alarm:
Isn't the TIE-fighter a spacecraft from the dark side of the Force?
Yes, but it will be a weird day when the ISS looks like an X-wing...

Jay Chladek
Member

Posts: 2250
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 11-30-2007 08:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The X-Wing will be the ESA ATV vehicle when it comes to dock with the ISS sometime in early 2008. Haven't you looked at the solar wing configuration on it?

BMckay
Member

Posts: 1999
From: MA, USA
Registered: Sep 2002

posted 01-30-2014 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BMckay   Click Here to Email BMckay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any of these ever shown up on any auction sites? Just wondering what they would be worth.

James Brown
Member

Posts: 1227
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Registered: Jun 2000

posted 01-31-2014 10:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for James Brown   Click Here to Email James Brown     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I still have mine.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28705
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-31-2014 11:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't recall seeing any of the patches come up for sale.

The agreement between collectSPACE and Lucasfilm was that the patch would not be commercialized, and while that doesn't apply to a third party owner, care was made when originally distributing them so that they would enter personal collections and not be turned around for sale.

All times are CT (US)

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