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  History of astronauts' personal mission patches

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Author Topic:   History of astronauts' personal mission patches
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-19-2012 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mission patches are intended to represent the entire crew, but some astronauts (and cosmonauts) have chosen to have an additional patch to represent themselves and/or their personal missions.

Some have been designed by the astronauts' themselves, others by artists invited by the astronauts to participate and yet others by the astronauts' space agencies (the latter often in cases where the astronaut was launching on another agency's vehicle).

A few questions about personal patches come to mind:

  1. Who was the first astronaut (or cosmonaut) to fly with a personal patch? Who came up with the idea?

  2. How many personal patches have there been? Has someone maintained a list of them all?

  3. What defines a personal patch? Personally, I would think it does not include backup crew patches, or gag patches, or patches designed to represent more than one person (e.g. STS-8 "eyes").

    What about patches created for the astronaut without their involvement and that did not fly with them? Are they still considered personal patches? (e.g. Ilan Ramon Israeli patches)

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 2123
From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 12-19-2012 12:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good questions.

Of the payload specialists, would Lichtenberg's and Merbold's generic Spacelab 1 patch (seen here) be considered a personal patch or would Jake Garn's emblem be considered the first US personal patch?

If Young flew with his Gemini III patch, would that be considered a personal patch?

carl walker
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Posts: 178
From: Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 12-19-2012 03:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carl walker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not sure about the first, but I can say that this Spacelab patch was more a project patch than a personal patch. Ockels, Furrer and Messerschmid had three patches made for a European astronaut association, very informal and never really came to anything afterwards (see here).

So maybe Al-Saud and Baudry on 51G had the first personal "name" personal patches on the US side.

On edit: No, correction, sorry Garneau from CSA on 41G!

I assume you are not counting the individual "mission" patches of CNES or ESA missions, of the company logos on PS like Charlie Walker?

KSCartist
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Posts: 2488
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 12-19-2012 04:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can contribute some information to this topic as Jorge and I have worked with a number of astronauts on personal patches at their request. As a rule they are intended for family and friends and not publicized. So unless an astronaut releases it, I don't.

They are as follows:

  • Jeff Williams and TJ Creamer, Exp 22: ISS is Army Strong
  • Doug Wheelock, Exp 24/25: US Army ISS Commander
  • Paolo Nespoli, Exp 26/27: Italian Army Astronaut
  • Ron Garan, Exp 27/28: Fragile Oasis
  • Mike Fossum, Exp 28/29: Living the Dream
  • Tom Marshburn, Exp 34/35: Infinity

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-19-2012 06:00 PM     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 Hart Sastrowardoyo:
If Young flew with his Gemini III patch, would that be considered a personal patch?
quote:
Originally posted by carl walker:
I assume you are not counting the individual "mission" patches of CNES or ESA missions, of the company logos on PS like Charlie Walker?
I think the baseline for a personal patch is that it has to in some way reflect the person, not the mission.

The post-flight Gemini 3 patch was clearly intended to represent both Young and Grissom and their flight together, so it wouldn't be a personal patch.

Likewise, the only CNES or ESA patches that would fall into this category would be those that somehow reflected the astronaut personally — which some do. If the patch is only focused on the mission, then I think its an alternate flight emblem and not a personal patch.

But that is just my perspective; if others have a different system of classification, please do share it as part of this discussion.

Go4Launch
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Posts: 400
From: Bethesda, MD
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 12-20-2012 10:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Go4Launch   Click Here to Email Go4Launch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe Marc Garneau and Paul Scully-Power would be tied for being first to have true personal patches, both for STS-41G. Interestingly, that was also the first patch with an add-on tab.

carl walker
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Posts: 178
From: Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 12-20-2012 12:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carl walker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Agreed, I forgot P. Scully-Power...

hoorenz
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Posts: 733
From: The Netherlands
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 12-20-2012 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hoorenz   Click Here to Email hoorenz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This one was worn by Vladimir Dzhanibekov, Soyuz T13 (June 1985).

mooncollector
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Posts: 75
From: Alabama, USA
Registered: Feb 2011

posted 01-14-2013 08:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mooncollector   Click Here to Email mooncollector     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is it correct that originally, the personal patch was intended to represent an individual space flyer and their mission contribution, regardless of the method of distribution?

The "early" personal patches seem to have been more open to wide distribution, at least from my knowledge, and there seems to have been a trend to make these more limited and "esoteric" as time went on. The newer ones, especially the ones like Richard Garriott's designs, seem to have been guarded almost like a state secret making them rarer and harder to get (and WAY pricier on ebay etc.) I am not a fan of the whole concept of creating "artificial rarities" that line other peoples' pockets.I like the idea of making them more available.

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