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Author Topic:   Kennedy Space Center shuttle patch packaging
Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-09-2013 12:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Assuming there is a desire to collect space shuttle mission patches that are contemporary to their missions, in addition to changes in embroidery methods and design style, I would think it would also be possible to narrow the dates when a patch was issued if it is still inside its original Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex packaging.

Browsing eBay and my own collection, I know of at least four different types of poly bag packaging, including the current style sold at the visitor complex.

So, a few questions:

  1. Are there more types of packaging that I have missed here?

  2. Are the above in the correct order?

  3. Has anyone tracked the date ranges when these different type of packages were used?
It also appears that the changes in packaging also denote the switch by the visitor complex from selling Swissartex Emblem patches for those produced by AB Emblem.

On edit: Another question arises: Are there other stores that had vintage packaging for AB Emblem's patches for the same period that the visitor complex was selling Swissartex patches?

Kevin T. Randall
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From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 06-09-2013 01:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
  1. Yes there is an earlier Swissartex card header, 1983 - 1985, the one you show in the top image is the second card header 1985 - 1987.

    Cape Kennedy Medals also sold their patches at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, 1983 - 1984.

  2. Yes.

Greggy_D
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From: Michigan
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posted 06-09-2013 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When I visited KSC in April, 1983 the gift shop was selling AB Emblem patches. Sometime after that, they flipped to Swissartex.

On edit: I had my date wrong. It was actually April, 1982 right after STS-3.

spaced out
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From: Paris, France
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posted 06-10-2013 01:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There were STS-6 patches (1983) sold on eBay recently in the packaging below.

What made them interesting, and which explains the carefully worded stamp applied to the back, was that the patches themselves were Cape Kennedy Medals rather than Swissartex.

Kevin suggested to me that Swissartex ran out of stock of the STS-6 patches at some stage and had to buy-in patches from another manufacturer to cover the shortfall, and I think this is very likely the explanation.

Liembo
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From: Bothell, WA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 10-26-2013 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo   Click Here to Email Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is there a mission timeline for the approximate changes in Swissartex and A-B Emblem packaging? For example which shuttle mission patch was the first to be made available in the next iteration of packaging and not to be found in previous?

It might help a collector who was interested in archiving patches in the proper packets that was available for a particular patch as it was released.

Kevin T. Randall
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From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 10-27-2013 03:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm afraid it works the other way around Liem, especially with AB Emblem KSC packages. You can find the earlier shuttle patches in most of the six various package types, but the later ones in only the current package type. This is because if the KSC asked AB Emblem for a re-stock of earlier patches they were put into what ever the current packaging type was at that time. So it is possible to find the Shuttle Program patch, the ALT, plus the first 6 missions in all six package types. (If replacement stock were required at any time within the 30 years of the shuttle). Though the patches themselves may have varied slightly over that period of time.
  • Images of three of the six AB Emblem KSC packet types can be seen above. The second image down is a Type 2, the third image down is a Type 3, and the fourth image is a Type 6, (the current one).

  • A Type 4 is the same design as in Type 3, but is printed on a 8x4.5" card insert instead of directly onto the plastic bag. The card insert and the patch are then put into a plastic bag 5x4.5" and stapled with the design not covered by the plastic bag.

  • A Type 5 is nearly identical to the Type 6 in that it is a folded white card header with 'Kennedy Space Center' on one line and 'Visitor Complex' on another line, but in a different font design to Type 6.

  • Finally, the Type 1 AB Emblem KSC package is basically the same as used for the Apollo, Skylab, and ASTP patches, but without the reference to 'TWA Tours'. It is a 6x4.25" card insert in a 5.5x4.5" plastic bag. I have only seen up to STS-6 used in the Type 1 packets.

  • Types 2 and 3 were sealed plastic bags with the design printed directly onto the plastic.

  • Type 1 and 4 are card inserts stapled near the top to seal the patch.

  • Type 5 and 6 are folder card headers stapled twice over the top of a plastic bag to seal the patch. (Just like the two Swissartex card headers).
As for Swissartex Emblem Inc., all shuttle patches from the Shuttle Program patch, the ALT, STS-1 through to STS-51L can be found in both their types of KSC folded card header packets.

Images of both these card headers are above, the top one being the second, (1985-87), and the one just above this post being the first, (1983-85).

Kevin T. Randall
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Posts: 584
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 10-27-2013 04:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Liembo:
It might help a collector who was interested in archiving patches in the proper packets that was available for a particular patch as it was released.
You would of had to of bought every mission patch in it's KSC packet at the time of that mission when the first stocks came in for public sale at the KSC visitor center. (I wish I could of done that, but only a few lucky collectors who lived in that part of Florida could of achieved that over the 30 years of the shuttle).

Liembo
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Posts: 290
From: Bothell, WA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 10-27-2013 12:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo   Click Here to Email Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I get that patches can "move forward" in the KSC packaging. (You can get an Apollo 11 in every generation of packaging.) However, for every packaging change, there is a mission that, from that point forward, will never be found in the previous packaging. Therefore that packaging type is its origin/genesis packaging. An STS-118 patch will never be found in the all plastic cardless sleeve, for example.

There must be some way, (and I'm working on attempting to find out for SPDb), what each STS mission's "genesis" packaging is. That way, if you are interested in purchasing patches in their original package, you can know that, while STS-N appeared in Type Y and Z KSC packaging, it first appeared in type X.

It would seem to me, that the perceived value of a patch acquired like that would be higher in its proper era packaging. An STS-1 patch in the 1980's card-in-sleeve packaging has more value, temporally and chronastically, than one in the current white, fold&staple packaging.

Ronpur
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From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 10-27-2013 05:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I ordered almost all of my patches from KSCVC at the time of launch....but never kept any packages! OOPS!

Liembo
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From: Bothell, WA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 01-25-2014 01:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo   Click Here to Email Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Was the A-B Apollo 1 patch ever released in KSC packaging? I haven't seen an example.

Kenny
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Posts: 25
From: Johnson City, Tennessee USA
Registered: Nov 2013

posted 12-08-2014 10:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kenny   Click Here to Email Kenny     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a NASA worm patch in what is described as the AB Emblem "type 3" packaging shown above. (It has the picture of the shuttle and is printed directly on the package — the third photo in the original post above.)

What would be the approximate date of this packaging?

Kevin T. Randall
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From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 12-09-2014 04:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The 'type 3' AB Emblem / KSC packets were first introduced around mid 1991 with STS-40, and continued to be used until around the beginning of 1998. The last Shuttle patch found in a 'type 3' packet is STS-89, (launched in January 1998), though a STS-94 patch has also been found in 'type 3' because it's launch date was July 1997.

AB Emblem did introduce a 'type 4' package (not shown above), during 1996, which was a clear plastic bag 5" x 4 1/2" with an 8" x 4 1/2" white card insert stapled just above the patch, with all the 'type 3' text and Shuttle illustration on. This 'type 4' was a short time experiment which started with STS-72 & ended with STS-80. 'Type 4' packets are also know with the 3" NASA meatball and U.S. flag patches in.

STS-26 was the first patch to be found in a 'type 2' KSC packet as AB Emblem won back the contract from Swissartex Emblem Inc. in 1987. Though the ALT, Shuttle Program 3" and 4", and STS-1 right through to STS-39 can also be found in 'type 2' packets.

STS-40 was the first patch to be found in a 'type 3' KSC packet. Though the ALT, Shuttle Program 3" and 4", and STS-1 through to STS-89, (plus STS-94), can all be found in 'type 3' packets.

STS-72 was the first patch to be found in a 'type 4' KSC packet. The last was STS-80. No previous mission patches have been found. Though saying that I've not yet found any patches for STS-73 through to STS-79. All these 'type 4' KSC packets are rare.

I'm not sure of the exact date when the 'type 5' KSC packets was first introduced, but I think it could of been STS-90 in early 1998. I have examples of STS-1, 2, 7, 51F, 61B, 36, 44, 53, 60 (English version), 63, 70, 71, 84, 89, 91, 93, 94, and 98 through to STS-113, which was the last in the 'type 5' packets. (There maybe other missions I've not found yet).

'Type 6' started at STS-114 in 2005 and continues to this day. The only change to them has been the type of plastic package used, from polyurethane to cellophane.
All of the flown Shuttle missions are available from the ALT, STS-1 right through to STS-135. Though not all the Shuttle mission patches are listed on their website. (You have to request them in the 'notes' section of your order).

Kevin T. Randall
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Posts: 584
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 12-09-2014 05:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Liembo:
Was the A-B Apollo 1 patch ever released in KSC packaging? I haven't seen an example.

I've just won an example of the Apollo 1 patch in a 'type 3' KSC packet. But when I received it, it turned out to be an Apollo 1 patch in an open 'Type 3' packet with an Apollo 11 barcode label on the back of the packet.

Kenny
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Posts: 25
From: Johnson City, Tennessee USA
Registered: Nov 2013

posted 12-09-2014 07:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kenny   Click Here to Email Kenny     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Kevin! This is great information for you to share and it will help me more accurately date the handful of patches I have bought on eBay that are still in their original packages.

Of my patches that were purchased "on site", all were bought at Johnson Space Center, which sold them loose (unpackaged) in the cafeteria. The salesperson had them in boxes behind the counter; one would tell her which mission one wanted and she would dig around until she found it.

This would have been in the late 1980's to mid 1990's -- before the current visitor center was built. I have no idea how the patches are sold at JSC today.

Thanks again!

Kevin T. Randall
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Posts: 584
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 12-09-2014 08:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kenny:
This would have been in the late 1980's to mid 1990's -- before the current visitor center was built. I have no idea how the patches are sold at JSC today.
As from November 1992 the patches bought from the Johnson Space Center were mounted, (stapled), to white 'Space Center Houston' sales cards, 4 1/2" x 6 1/4". The patches on these cards were first supplied by Eagle Crest Emblem Inc., (formally Swissartex Emblem Inc.), and from February 1999 AB Emblem. (Most of these cards from 1992 to 2001 were dated on the barcode labels). The earliest date I have is 11/92 for a Swissartex STS-38 patch, (not the Eagle Crest patch made in Taiwan, that one is dated 10/95).

Sometime during the later 2000's the sales cards were re-designed into a multi coloured 'Johnson Space Center' sales card with the NASA meatball logo at the top. These cards are 4 1/4" x 7" at the highest point. These are the cards currently on sale in the Visitor Center with AB Emblem patches attached, but none of these cards are dated.

Kenny
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Posts: 25
From: Johnson City, Tennessee USA
Registered: Nov 2013

posted 12-09-2014 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kenny   Click Here to Email Kenny     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting! I can tell you that the loose patches sold in the JSC cafeteria were from A-B Emblem.

I'll go home and see if the receipts I still have will list the year(s) I purchased the loose ones. I know for sure that I have a sales brochure the lady gave me so that I could "check off" the ones I'd purchased.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-09-2014 02:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You are both describing different stores: the Space Center Houston card-back patches are from the public visitor center, which is an independent organization (unlike at Kennedy Space Center, where NASA owns the visitor complex). The shop inside both cafeterias on site at the Johnson Space Center is the employee exchange store.

Space Center Houston's store is called Space Trader. JSC's exchange store is ShopNASA.com.

If I recall correctly, the exchange store now sells its patches polybagged with a card identifying AB Emblem as the supplier.

Kevin T. Randall
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Posts: 584
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 12-09-2014 02:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes thanks Robert, on the backs of the 'Houston' sales cards are the barcode labels. They say 'Space Traders-31K', then the date, 'mm/yy', then '44', followed by the barcode and barcode number, followed by the price.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-10-2015 04:01 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 Kevin T. Randall:
...the Type 1 AB Emblem KSC package is basically the same as used for the Apollo, Skylab, and ASTP patches, but without the reference to 'TWA Tours'.
A cS reader pointed out a Goodwill sale that was offering these patches:

This packaging references AB and the TWA Tours, so would this be Typo 0?

Cozmosis22
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From: Texas * Earth
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posted 10-10-2015 09:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe the patch on the left does not belong in that packaging? It appears as though the bag has been opened, as there is no visible staple. Perhaps someone just placed the Shuttle Program patch in there... sideways and put it up for sale?

Kevin T. Randall
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Posts: 584
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 10-11-2015 03:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, I've just looked closely at my KSC 'type 1' packets and to my surprise I to have some examples of the 'NASA TWA Tours' card inserts shown on the left with both sizes of Shuttle Program patches, the KSC Florida patch with the shuttle moving from right to left, and the 85mm x 60 mm U.S. Flag patches in.

So it looks like there is going to be a 'type 0' KSC sales packet insert.
Though saying that the 'type 1' inserts do have slight variations along the tops of the cards. The patch prices, or no price, (a blank white rectangle), each side. Where prices are part of the top red strip they are; $0.75, $1.00, $1.35, $1.50, and $1.65. There maybe other prices available. (I don't include the addition of price stickers or labels).

Kevin T. Randall
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Posts: 584
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 10-11-2015 04:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I need to update the 'type 5' KSC card headers packets as I have found more, and with variants to the wording on them.

The main (99%) of the 'type 5' card headers has in red letters "Souvenir Space Emblem" along the top, but I have also found in the same size font in red, "Mission Program Emblems" and "Challenger Emblems" used for single patch packets.

The "Mission Program Emblems" card header I've only found with the STS-107 patches, plus the STS-107 'memorial ribbon' patches in. I've not found any others as yet.

The "Challenger Emblems" card header packets has the Challenger mission patches in, but I've only found the STS-8 mission patch so far. If they have done this for the Challenger missions patches, they may well of also done this for the Atlantis, Columbia, Discovery, and Endeavour mission patches, but again I've not found any so far.

It is very difficult to get any reliable information from anyone at the KSC Visitor Complex gift shop. I have tried to contact the chief buyer through the lady who is in charge of sales through their website. But so far he has not returned my e-mails. Even the website manager and her assistant don't really know what patches they have available or what patches will be coming in to sell in the near future, like the ISS mission patches, which are now all sold out of or unavailable to website buyers, and the SpaceX CRS/SpX patches now manufactured by AB Emblem (their supplier).

The only new patch that has appeared on their website recently is the U.S. Astronaut Hall Of Fame patch.

If any members from this forum are visiting the gift shop at the KSC, could they let us know exactly what patches they do have for sale in the shop? Many thanks.

Liembo
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Posts: 290
From: Bothell, WA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 10-11-2015 02:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo   Click Here to Email Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kevin T. Randall:
So it looks like there is going to be a 'type 0' KSC sales packet insert.
Seems to me that it should be a 'Type 1x' (subtype of Type 1) rather than a new Type "0" if it's just a cosmetic change to the card-in-plastic type? I am not sure if there are other 1x types so I did not know what letter to use there.

Kevin T. Randall
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Posts: 584
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 10-11-2015 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes I agree Liem, it's a 'type 1' but the problem is that this NASA TWA Tours insert card came before the NASA KSC cards with the price variants. So we have got to work out how many 'type 1' A, B, C, etc. we require to cover all the variants that there are.

Your thoughts Liem? And of course any other members who have thoughts on this subject too?

Liembo
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Posts: 290
From: Bothell, WA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 10-11-2015 02:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo   Click Here to Email Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think the individual price variations need their own subtype. I've got some with updated price stickers on them and such, peeling them would be destructive. I'd say just the artwork/labelling variations should be noted.

Kevin T. Randall
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Posts: 584
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 10-11-2015 02:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I too have some with revised price stickers/labels on. I would not remove them deliberately, but some have adhesive problems, in that time has affected how well they are attached to the top of the card inserts or the polyurethane packets. I keep all my KSC patch sales packets in A5 plastic sleeves so if the price stickers/labels do come off, they are not lost.

Liembo
Member

Posts: 290
From: Bothell, WA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 11-12-2015 03:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo   Click Here to Email Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I found an ALT patch in the "TWA Tours" Type 1 packaging as well.

Bill Nelson
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Posts: 128
From: Lakewood, Colorado U.S.A.
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 11-13-2015 04:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill Nelson   Click Here to Email Bill Nelson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The old TWA Tours patch packages had the price of the patch printed on the card. Does anyone what years that the patches had $1.00 on the card, what years it was $1.25, and the $1.50 and so on?

All times are CT (US)

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