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  Gemini 5 crew mission patch: "8 Days or Bust"

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Author Topic:   Gemini 5 crew mission patch: "8 Days or Bust"
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 33072
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-24-2015 01:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
'8 Days or Bust' +50 years: Gemini 5 made history with first crew mission patch

...the Gemini 5 mission's planned length was more than just an attempt at a record but a test itself, designed to show that astronauts could survive the time needed for a trip to the moon and back.

Cooper and Conrad chose to underline that particular goal while setting yet another American first in space.

Sewn to the right chest of each of their spacesuits was a cloth emblem depicting a Conestoga wagon. Embroidered in red lettering was their mission designation ("Gemini 5") and their names. And hidden under a thin piece of hastily-added cloth was the inscription, "8 Days of Bust."

Cooper and Conrad were sporting the first-ever astronaut-designed space mission patch.

SpaceFerris
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From: Leonardtown, MD
Registered: Mar 2015

posted 08-25-2015 09:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceFerris   Click Here to Email SpaceFerris     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As this is a very hard to find and expensive vintage patch (Gemini 5 crew souvenir), it would be a perfect choice for Chris Spain to produce for sale on his Crew Patches website. I for one would commit to buy a couple.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 08-25-2015 10:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
AB Emblem, in conjunction with Gene Dorr, produced an excellent replica of the original Gemini 5 patch, complete with cloth sewn over the "8 Days or Bust."

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-25-2015 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Speaking of the original Gemini 5 patches though, there is the apparent manner of Pete Conrad's missing flight-worn patch.

Conrad shared in a letter to John Bisney (cS: Go4Launch):

...the patches were removed from the suit sometime after recovery and prior to the arrival back in Houston. We did not see them after we got back on the (recovery) ship, and they were never returned to us; I'm assuming they were stolen.
Conrad was either unaware or had forgotten that NASA photographed Gordon Cooper's patch soon after the flight. And we know that the same patch was later auctioned by Superior in 1995 and resold by Heritage in 2012.

So, has anyone ever seen another Gemini 5 patch that appeared to be one of the originals with the fabric still covering the "8 Days or Bust" slogan?

Tallpaul
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From: Rocky Point, NY, USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 08-25-2015 08:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tallpaul     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I followed the link to Heritage and it is very interesting to read the description of how Conrad and Cooper came up with the idea of the patch and its actual design. What I find to be really fascinating is that there is an excerpt from "Leap of Faith" in which Cooper describes giving the patch to a manufacturer who produced 100s of them.

An authentic Gemini patch is incredibly rare, so a reasonable question is, if there were 100s produced, what happened to all of them? The Space Flown Artifacts site shows sales of just 14 patches, including the twice-sold one from Cooper's spacesuit.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-25-2015 08:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It should be noted that the patches Cooper and Conrad wore were of a different construction than the other crew-flown and sourced "souvenir" patches. The hundreds described by Cooper in "Leap of Faith" are by all accounts of the latter manufacture.

That said, by Cooper's own admission, his "Leap of Faith" co-author took liberties with what Cooper told him to build out the stories in the book, so whether hundreds were actually ever produced is open to question.

From the hundreds to the one, it would be interesting to find out what happened to the single patch that Cooper sent to Webb after their dinner together before the launch...

Go4Launch
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From: Seminole, Fla.
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 08-25-2015 09:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Go4Launch   Click Here to Email Go4Launch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with Robert that the "hundreds" reference is questionable. It is true, however, that surprisingly few have surfaced at auction had even 50 been made.

This second run also came in two otherwise-identical versions: some included the motto (as the top photo in Robert's story shows); the rest did not, illustrating the practical result of Webb’s memo. A photo of one (with motto) was used in a 1968 Life magazine article, the first widespread publicity NASA crew patches received.

Examples of these from Cooper’s and Conrad’s personal collections were sold privately or at auctions in the 1990s (far more with the motto than without). In some cases, each astronaut identified them as carried on the flight, though that at least raises the question of why “blank” versions weren’t used on the suits if they’d been made during the week between Webb’s memo and launch (there was no reason for the crew have had any “blank” ones made before his memo).

According to suit tech Al Rochford, he could have replaced patches even the day before the flight. Also, Webb's memo had left an out, conceding it might not be possible to get them remade in time. Finally, why didn’t the astronauts wear any version of their special patch on their jumpsuits aboard USS Lake Champlain, had they been available?

Conrad also did not mention any patches when he described looking through his PPK during the flight, although he did mention bringing some US flags.

Conrad, who didn’t get his patch returned, would have had an incentive to get at least one more made if no more originals existed. Indeed, both men later wore examples from the second batch (with the motto) on their flight jackets, not “originals.”

In addition, by ordering a second batch later (some without the motto) the crewmen would have matching sets depicting the patches both as they originally intended, and as worn on the flight.

Finally, both suit patches had clear differences between them. Cooper’s was embroidered through a layer of white material that tended to bulge, while Conrad’s patch included two additional horizontal lines on the wagon’s cask. The front wagon wheel spokes were also slightly different between the two flight patches. Neither crewman could explain the discrepancies, but I think it's because just these two were made individually. Cooper told me perhaps about ten "originals" were made, partly because NASA approval was by no means certain, but no matching patches have ever surfaced. Perhaps they were the samples the patch company first made, but that's just speculation.

I realize this theory contradicts auction-related claims by the crewmen that some were flown, but the evidence points away from that to me.

GoesTo11
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From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 08-25-2015 10:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
AB Emblem, in conjunction with Gene Dorr, produced an excellent replica of the original Gemini 5 patch, complete with cloth sewn over the "8 Days or Bust."
As an aside, I don't generally follow auctions, so that Heritage pic of Cooper's patch is the first high-quality one I've seen... the NASA pic Robert also posted is a pretty poor depiction. The auction lot photo shows what a good job AB and Gene Dorr did with their replica.

SpaceFerris
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From: Leonardtown, MD
Registered: Mar 2015

posted 08-26-2015 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceFerris   Click Here to Email SpaceFerris     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
AB Emblem, in conjunction with Gene Dorr, produced an excellent replica of the original Gemini 5 patch, complete with cloth sewn over the "8 Days or Bust."
Thanks Robert. I do have that replica of the crew along with the Eagle One version. I am suggesting that Chris Spain or perhaps the great Tim Gagnon consider making a replica of the "Gemini 5 Crew Souvenir Patch." It is different as described on crewpatches.com as follows:
This design is easily identified by the large Gemini 5 text at the top which divides the brown inner border.
The upper and lower case letters in "8 Days or Bust" also differs on the souvenir version compared to the crew patch. All upper case letters on the souvenir version compared to "8 Days Or Bust" on the crew.

Considering it goes rarely at auctions for over a $1000 dollars, it would be the only way someone like myself could collect it.

spaced out
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From: Paris, France
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posted 08-26-2015 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree that it would be a worthwhile replica to produce but my experience with the Gemini 7 crew souvenir patch replica was that the demand for such Gemini patches is pretty low, making it very difficult to ever break even on the project.

Maybe Liem could produce a replica using a crowdfunding model? I know he was thinking of working on some of the other Gemini patches at one stage.

LM-12
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From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 08-26-2015 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This photo of Pete Conrad in the recovery helicopter provides a good view of his Gemini 5 patch.

SpaceFerris
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Posts: 26
From: Leonardtown, MD
Registered: Mar 2015

posted 08-26-2015 02:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceFerris   Click Here to Email SpaceFerris     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I realize it could be the lighting inside the SAR helicopter, but I have always had the opinion that Pete's crew patch is different from Gordo's in color and materials. Pete's appears to made of a black wagon wheel with gray tones to the wagon body and spokes, whereas Gordo's has browns in those gray areas.

Also unless it was treated differently by the safety harness wearing on the patches or not, but Pete's has no evidence of sagging material or folds at all unlike Gordo's.

I am shocked and disappointed to hear Pete's is missing and did not realize that was the case until reading this thread. A piece of history and an heirloom for the Conrad family. He was one of the best pilots in the program.

I do hope someone champions making a crew souvenir replica, but recognize the fiscal risks such an undertaking would entail. Thanks.

Ronpur
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From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 08-26-2015 10:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would go for a Crew Souvenir replica as well. I have the Eagle One and the AB replica. The AB Geminis are still available, I just ordered another complete set for $49.

Liembo
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From: Bothell, WA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 08-27-2015 04:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo   Click Here to Email Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've been debating producing a Gemini 5 crew souvenir replica, is there a strong enough interest? Perhaps pair it with an Apollo VII replica (on the white circular cloth). I am not sure I can find an embroiderer that can sew on cloth though.

Ronpur
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Posts: 746
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 08-27-2015 09:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That would definitely be a pair I would back... maybe twice!

Panther494
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From: London UK
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posted 08-28-2015 11:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Panther494   Click Here to Email Panther494     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, definitely be interested in those two.

Liembo
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From: Bothell, WA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 08-28-2015 12:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo   Click Here to Email Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm going to start the groundwork part of having the two patches made (there's some work to be done for the A7 patch), but I won't start another Kickstarter until all of the current KS patch supporters ("Black Cat", "STS-61E" and GTA-6 replica patches) have their patches shipped.

SpaceFerris
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Posts: 26
From: Leonardtown, MD
Registered: Mar 2015

posted 08-31-2015 11:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceFerris   Click Here to Email SpaceFerris     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Liem! For the record, you know I am committed if it kicks off.

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