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  Shuttle patches: original issue vs. souvenir

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Author Topic:   Shuttle patches: original issue vs. souvenir
Hev7970
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posted 11-04-2011 06:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hev7970   Click Here to Email Hev7970     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are there any differences between the patches that were actually issued to personnel involved in a space shuttle mission and the ones you see on eBay and the like?

I only ask as my late husband was a USAF Sgt assigned to an emergency abort landing team for two space shuttle launches in Ganbia in 1990 and has patches from those missions (one Columbia and the other Atlantis) that were issued to him at that time. Thanks!

Skyforce1
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posted 11-04-2011 08:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skyforce1   Click Here to Email Skyforce1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to AB Emblem which manufactures space shuttle patches, there is no difference in patches that the astronauts and ground support personnel wear and the ones that are sold commercially here in the US. The first 10,000 or so that come off the assembly line are distributed to the astronauts, families, etc. After that they are produced for the NASA outlets and distributors.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 11-04-2011 08:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Question: Were any patches issued for the Gambia abort site itself? Either officially or unofficially?

Skyforce1
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posted 11-04-2011 09:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skyforce1   Click Here to Email Skyforce1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll find out for everyone on Monday morning. I'll post the answer when I give AB a shout.

p51
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posted 11-04-2011 11:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A co-worker of mine was a USAF cop in the 90s and he said twice he had to go to Zaragoza Air Base in Spain to cover that field just in case the shuttle had to land there. It'd never occurred to me they would need a security element at all alternate landing sites but that does make sense.

I know Mike Mullane's book mentions astronauts being at one of more of these sites with passports for the crew just in case and the crew being told to pack civvies in case that happened.

Skyforce1
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posted 11-06-2011 04:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skyforce1   Click Here to Email Skyforce1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was a USAF Security Policeman and the space shuttle is a one of a kind vehicle, much like the SR-71 or a B-52 cocked on alert. So if there was an emergency landing of the shuttle, it would have security forces dedicated to it.

butch wilks
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posted 11-09-2011 03:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for butch wilks   Click Here to Email butch wilks     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd have to say that yes there is a different between patches that AB Emblem makes for one mission. They can be smaller and the color can charge. I see this a lot in the sets of mission patches I have.

But most of the time it is down to AB going from making the first few of them in the USA and then handing them over to there far east operator to do the mass of the souvenir patches for them.

Some times they send them off too soon and they run out of the ones they have made, and have to issue ones made in the far east.

Sometimes, AB will run out of a color in a run and will replace it with one that is close. I must say some of them have not been that close, too.

Mike Z
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posted 11-09-2011 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Z   Click Here to Email Mike Z     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I really think it's sad that AB Emblem has the patches made in the far east! I even saw an American flag down in the Washington, DC area made in China.

Skyforce1
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posted 11-09-2011 02:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skyforce1   Click Here to Email Skyforce1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have received an answer from an AB rep who informed me that the only other size of the patch is a 3.375" X3.375" and is attached to the spacesuit of the astronaut. That is the only other version of the patch that is produced.

Hev7970
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posted 11-09-2011 03:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hev7970   Click Here to Email Hev7970     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks everyone for your responses. My late husband was part of the USAF Medical Logisitcs division and was assigned to transport and monitor the box of human blood that the shuttle emergency landing team had with them in case of the need for blood transfusions in the event of an emergency landing.

The two patches that I have are the same as the regular mission patches (STS-35 and 37 I think) and are not specific for the Gambia location. Nice mementos to keep with a great story! Thanks again for all you insights!

dogcrew5369
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posted 11-12-2011 08:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dogcrew5369   Click Here to Email dogcrew5369     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mike Z:
I really think it's sad that AB Emblem has the patches made in the far east! I even saw an American flag down in the Washington, DC area made in China.

I live in North Carolina and have pride ABEmblem makes patches in my state. I am mortified they would outsource shuttle or any patch to another country. What a let down. Sign of the times though. Where I work will be leaving for Costa Rica next year. We're screwing ourselves.

Greggy_D
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posted 11-12-2011 08:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mike Z:
I really think it's sad that AB Emblem has the patches made in the far east!

Is this true?

andrewcli
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From: La Jolla, CA, USA
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posted 11-12-2011 09:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for andrewcli   Click Here to Email andrewcli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently purchased patches representing the last shuttle missions from the KSC store. I was saddened to read on the back that they were made in Taiwan.

KAPTEC
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posted 11-12-2011 10:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KAPTEC   Click Here to Email KAPTEC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Conrad Industries (AB Emblem) has factories in USA (Weaverville), Mexico (Tecali & Puebla) and China (Laixi and Quingdao). Their patches can be made in any one of them.

dogcrew5369
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posted 11-14-2011 03:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dogcrew5369   Click Here to Email dogcrew5369     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now that really does stink! So I have a 33.3% chance my patches were made in the USA? When did AB Emblem (or Conrad Ind.) open a factory in Mexico and China? Or should I say when did they stop making 100% of their patches in the US?

JFS61
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From: Bryan, Texas USA
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posted 11-15-2011 09:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JFS61     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bad enough trying to sort out the differences between original 80's production runs and their contemporary AB reissues, but now we find out that we can't even count on getting an original, official production run patch for a mission that is still in orbit.

Where's Lion Brothers when we really need them?

KAPTEC
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posted 11-16-2011 04:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KAPTEC   Click Here to Email KAPTEC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
AB Emblems patches are always original, independently where from they have been done...

dogcrew5369
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posted 11-16-2011 04:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dogcrew5369   Click Here to Email dogcrew5369     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No disrespect, but here in the U.S. we kind of like "Made in the USA." They may look the same, but it's a pride thing for me.

KSCartist
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posted 11-16-2011 04:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm sure AB can speak for themselves but here's my take on this situation:

AB opened the factories outside of the US to keep production costs down. Unfortunately a familiar story these days. When a patch is newly released AB has manufactured prototypes for NASA and possibly filled the crew orders. These patches are made in North Carolina.

To increase the chance of having a crew patch made in the US, order your crew patch as soon as it's released. To keep up with demand, I expect all factories were cranking out STS-135 patches this year.

My own issue with AB is that over the years, the artwork is "dumbed down" until the current issue barely resembles the original. Case in point, Apollo 13. Is this due to international factories? I don't know.

lm5eagle
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posted 11-16-2011 06:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lm5eagle   Click Here to Email lm5eagle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can I broaden this out a little, from shuttle patches to space patches?

For example, it is virtually impossible to obtain original ESA patches and the only way of filling a gap would be to have a souvenir patch from an Asian source. Something in me militates against supporting Malaysian copies (which are allegedly stolen) but how else can we get a representation of such, otherwise unobtainable, patches in our collection?

Skyforce1
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posted 11-16-2011 07:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skyforce1   Click Here to Email Skyforce1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In response to the ESA patches, I think the best we all could do right now is what I just did. Bing "ESA Patches" and the first hit that comes up is the ESA site. On the homepage, about halfway down on the right hand side is a PDF file poster of all the ESA patches, downloadable and in color.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-16-2011 09:25 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 lm5eagle:
...how else can we get a representation of such, otherwise unobtainable, patches in our collection?
I completely understand the desire to own a "complete" collection but may I suggest that not everything is meant or needs to be readily accessible to collectors?

I think it is healthy for the hobby to have items that are out of reach or for which only relatively few exist. They may create holes in our collections, but they are also goals to strive to find.

As for the original topic, unless AB Emblems' patches produced overseas differ greatly from the those made domestically, I don't see the controversy. After all, the space shuttle itself was made from parts and flew hardware fabricated overseas.

butch wilks
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posted 11-16-2011 11:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for butch wilks   Click Here to Email butch wilks     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes Robert, I am with you on out of reach patches but on the AB Emblems patches produced overseas I am not with you on this as there is a great difference in the patch I get from AB overseas makers.

Most are smaller and the colour are not the same as the ones I have from AB U.S.

Here's one for you: Expedition 19 named patches that we had made for us on here by AB. The patch is a lot smaller as are a number of the patches in this set, and the golds/yellow colors goes to lemon yellow in this patch to the original patches size and colour. This makes a number of patches in the set stand out as being odd to the original patches.

Onto a newer patch, the ISS Expedition 31 patch. In this patch the ISS is a mustard yellow and not gold.

I have just had in ISS Expeditions 31, 32 and 35 all made in Taiwan, and ISS Expedition 36 made in China. I now have to see if I can get them one more time, but this time made in the U.S.

hoorenz
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posted 11-16-2011 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hoorenz   Click Here to Email hoorenz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So, what you are saying, is that your patches do not have a label like this on the back?


butch wilks
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posted 11-16-2011 01:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for butch wilks   Click Here to Email butch wilks     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, same AB label on the back, but with Taiwan and China on them.

J Blackburn
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From: Riner, Virginia USA
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posted 11-16-2011 06:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J Blackburn   Click Here to Email J Blackburn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You mean we still make things here in the good ole USA. Just kidding, I know how you feel Butch. The last few patches I purchased had stickers indicating "Made in Taiwan" and "Made in China". I was not happy with that but like most things we buy they are not made here in the USA.

Like you, I see a color variation at times. I look at it like this, by them being made in different countries using slightly different colors it only adds to the collection. However, in my opinion since AB Emblem states they are the official supplier of NASA patches they need to make them in one location so every patch will be alike in size and color. I am very patriotic so in my opinion they should be made in the USA.

As for the ISS crew patches, if not made in the USA then they should be made in one of the ISS contributing countries that actually fly astronauts on-board the ISS.

hoorenz
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posted 11-17-2011 12:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hoorenz   Click Here to Email hoorenz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was 12 when I received my first space patch and the magical thing, I remember, was the fact that I knew it was exactly like the patch that was flown. I used to think: "This could have been the patch that was worn in space." That magic is lost when you know that the crew got their patches from a factory in the USA and you have one from Taiwan - you know it is definitely not from the same batch. At least it is now indicated on the back where it came from.

Jim Behling
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posted 11-17-2011 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All the USAF launch patches and coins are made in China. Same goes for many of the NASA spacecraft patches.

hoorenz
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posted 12-03-2011 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hoorenz   Click Here to Email hoorenz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is the Chinese label on an Expedition 31 patch from AB Emblem.

butch wilks
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posted 12-03-2011 04:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for butch wilks   Click Here to Email butch wilks     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's the same label I have on my Expedition 31 patch from AB Emblem but I have "Made in Taiwan." And the batch number of 180631 B on it too, with the date as 10/11 10.

Voyager2012
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posted 08-31-2012 08:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Voyager2012   Click Here to Email Voyager2012     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As far as the label goes, the numbers after the year is that the number of the machine that the patch was made on? Like for instance, after the year or date the patch was made as shown in all these label photos above. Thanks.

Spaceguy5
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posted 09-01-2012 04:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What's really ironic is when they make US Flags in China. For example I ordered 154 3"x5" US flag patches from AB Emblems. Two had no tag on the back and the rest were made in China; the stripe directly below the starfield was slightly curved on the China patches (what's sad is that I've seen photos of astronauts wearing flags that had the same design error) and one out of 10 of them had incorrectly trimmed threads. One of them was so bad that I almost couldn't fix it.

That's the cost of cheaper manufacturing. Still, at least they don't do all of their manufacturing overseas like some other corporations...

As far as the number on the tag goes, I've been wondering the same thing. The top number is the item number (or SKU number or part number, whatever you want to call it). I guess the ##/## is the month and year? Every single China flag I have says "11/11 10" although it's hard to imagine them embroidering hundreds of these things on a single machine at a time.

spaced out
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posted 09-01-2012 07:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't want to get into a whole argument about outsourcing but it might help people understand why someone might choose to have a patch made in China rather than the US if they understood that the unit cost is double for a US-made run.

Spaceguy5
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posted 09-01-2012 09:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Personally I'd rather pay double than risk defects

Gonzo
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posted 09-05-2012 09:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paying double does not guarantee no defects. Look at the recent STS-103 patch issue I discovered. ALL of the colors were wrong (despite being made at the US plant)! What we discovered was that 50 patches were made this way and that they (most likely) were a test run that shouldn't have been released.

What it all boils down to is that each collector has their own responsibility of getting and verifying that what they have is "official", if that's what they want, or what they believe they have in their collection holds true.

And then again, how do you define "official"? If it comes from AB, regardless of the slight variances in color and/or size, is it still "official" because it came from the source and is a representation of the actual patch worn on the mission?

I guess the only real answer is to only have patches from the first runs made for the astronauts, families and crews - only those that are identical in every aspect to those worn by the crew. But to me, that is severely limiting. Are you collecting for the purity of having "official" patches only or are you collecting to have each mission represented in your collection? For me, I'd choose the latter, and then, if I deem it important to the mission (Apollo 11 for me), I then ADD to that set in my collection the "official" versions if I find I don't have it already.

All times are CT (US)

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