In Print – Books
Except for Still and Kaplan,
the books listed here are about the patch designs, even when they use
embroidered patches to illustrate those designs. Collectors will find
Still most useful. Otherwise, the list is in order by
- Price, Luke Wesley. Space Mission
Art. Ammonite Press, 2019.
This is the best book on space patches that has been published. The
design and execution are top-notch, the illustrations are outstanding,
the text is well-researched and accurate. To illustrate the patch
designs, Price uses the original artwork in every case where it is
available, resorting to embroidered patches only in the case of the
three Gemini patches where artwork is unavailable. There simply is
no better reference book on the topic. It includes patches from Gemini
5 up through the end of the Shuttle program. Only primary mission
patches for manned US missions are included — no
“alternate” designs, no backup crew patches, no
“joke” patches, no personal patches. Nor does it include
any ISS expedition patches.
- Lattimer, Dick. All We Did Was Fly
to the Moon. The Whispering Eagle Press, Gainesville, FL, 1983.
While now dated, this seminal book was for many years a primary resource
for information about the early mission patches. Sadly, the author used
uniformly bad embroidered patches to illustrate the designs. Despite
that, the information presented is invaluable. Though rare, the first
edition is preferable, as important content was dropped from the second
- Still, Russell. Relics of the Space
Race. Third edition, 2001.
This excellent book, written as a guide for collectors of spaceflight
memorabilia, provides a wealth of information on the manufacture of space
mission patches. Very worthwhile for patch collectors. A review of this
book can be found at collectSPACE. As it is now out of print,
it may be challenging to find.
- Glushko, Aleksandr.
Design for Space: Soviet and Russian Mission Patches. Dom Publishers,
This is a splendidly produced and beautifully
illustrated volume, including a great many Soviet, Russian and
international patches. Glushko’s claims to expertise with regard
to this topic are extravagant to the point of absurdity. I can claim
no expertise in the area myself, but Erik van der Hoorn certainly can,
and he offered an extensive critique of this volume on
collectSPACE. It’s a lovely and useful addition
to my library, but I keep a printout of Erik’s comments right inside
- Launius, Roger D. An Unofficial
History of NASA Mission Patches. Thunder Bay Press, 2020.
This is a book I have very mixed feelings about. The production values
are outstanding overall, but then seriously marred by the inclusion
of what I can only call “gimmicks” that are clearly
intended to attract children and gift-buyers with a space enthusiast
to buy for: first, there is an actual (and removable) embroidered
Apollo 11 patch embedded in the front cover; second, there is a set of
stickers in the back (sadly, these pages are not removable: only the
stickers are). My biggest gripe is that the publisher contracted one of
the most esteemed and well-known space historians to write the text, and
then proceeded to subvert actual history by including illustrations of
bogus Mercury patches. Another serious error committed by the publisher
was to substitute the ASTP project emblem for the American crew patch.
There is a lot to like, and a lot to hate about this volume. I must
also point out that Dr. Launius himself made a few serious blunders in
his text. A beautiful, but seriously flawed book.
- Kaplan, Judith and Muniz, Robert.
Space Patches: From Mercury to the Space Shuttle. Sterling Publishing
Co., Inc., New York. 1986.
This book is off-kilter. While it puports to be about mission patches,
it wastes an exobitant amount of ink describing missions. (In all
fairness, most books that claim to be about patches suffer this fault.)
While there are fairly lengthy descriptions of patch designs,
there is little in the way of actual insight. Further, the descriptions
all pertain to a single embroidered exemplar, rather than the artwork.
All of the illustrations appear in a color section at the beginning of
the book, and apparently include everything the author could
find that bore even remotely on spaceflight: unmanned missions such as
Viking and Voyager, facilities, anniversary commemoratives, corporate
designs ... even the KSC Fire Department for goodness sake. It’s
ludicrously inclusive, and only marginally informative.
- Vogt, Gregory L. Space Mission
Patches. The Millbrook Press, Brookfield, CT. 2001.
A children’s book, this is of no interest to any serious student of
space patches. It listed here only for the sake of completeness.
- Human Space Flight Mission Patch Handbook, AeroGraphics,
I found this book, which claims no authorship, to be
an offensive work of plagiarism. Apart from my personal gripe
that it lifts large swaths of text verbatim from this very web site, it
presents all the worst embriodered patches — from the non-existent
Mercury designs up through Gemini 12. The very presence of my own
words presented alongside these travesties, along with the absence of
overt authorship, makes me worry that some readers might mistake me
for the author. Nothing could be further from the truth. I strongly
urge everyone to avoid this book. It affords no value. Price
does a far better job, and has no need to resort to plagiarism.
In Print – Articles
- Hamblin, Dora Jane.
Spacecraft Anonymous. Life
magazine, October 8, 1968, pp. 109-119. Available online via
- Freas, Frank Kelly.
Skylab Patchwork. Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, June 1973, pp.
10-19. Available online right here.
- Simpson, Richard V. Space Mission Patches. Antiques
and Collecting, January 1989, pp. 50-53.
- Wilson, Keith.
The First US Astronaut Crew Patches. Spaceflight magazine, May
- Kircher, Travis.
More Than Just a Merit Badge. Ad Astra magazine, Nov/Dec 2000,
pp. 23-25. Available online at collectSPACE.
- Borsche, Catherine E. & Brad Thomas. Mementos In Time.
JSC Roundoup, February 2007, pp. 6-7.
- Hengeveld, Ed. The Apollo Emblems
of Artist Al Stevens. Spaceflight magazine, June 2008, pp. 220-225.
Available online at collectSPACE.
- Brumfitt, A., L.A. Thompson, D. Raitt. The Art and
Science of Mission Patches and their Origins in Society. Acta
Astronautica, May 2008, pp. 715-720.
- Platoff, Anne M. Flags as Flair: The Iconography of
Space Shuttle Mission Patches, Part 1. Flag Research Quarterly, December
2013, pp. 1-8.
- Platoff, Anne M. Flags as Flair: The Iconography of
Space Shuttle Mission Patches, Part 2. Flag Research Quarterly, June
2014, pp. 1-14.
- Wegener, Amanda. Art From the Inside: NASA Mission
Insignia and Patches from Mercury to Apollo. Quest, Vol. 23 (2016), No. 4,
- Without doubt, the best online resource for patch collectors is Chris
Patches web site. Chris has done a tremendous job of researching the
various versions of patches, and for years has been tracking the prices
realized by these patches at auction. If you collect patches, this is
the essential reference.
- Jacques van Oene has a comprehensive Space Patches website, which attempts to cover
patches for all manned spaceflights, up to the present day.
- The collectSPACE
site has a
forum for discussing patches. All the past discussions
are archived, which makes it an invaluable resource.
- Brooks, Courtney,
Grimwood, James, and Swenson, Lloyd. Chariots for Apollo:
A History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft. NASA, 1979. NASA SP-4205.
at the NASA History Office web site.
- Cernan, Eugene and
Davis, Don. The Last Man on the Moon. St Martin’s Press, 1999.
- Collins, Michael.
Carrying the Fire. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1974.
- Chambers, Joseph R. and Chambers, Mark A.
Emblems of Exploration, Logos of the NACA and NASA, Monographs in Aerospace History, no.56, 2015. Available
from NASA as a PDF.
- Cooper, Gordon.
Leap of Faith. Harper Collins, 2000.
Walter, with Herskowitz, Mickey. The All-American Boys. Macmillan
- Duke, Charles and
Duke, Dotty. Moonwalker. Oliver Nelson, 1990.
- Ezell, Edward and
Ezell, Linda. The Partnership: A History of the Apollo-Soyuz
Test Project. NASA, 1978. NASA SP-4209. Available
online at the NASA History Office web site.
- Farmer, Gene and
Hamblin, Dora Jane. First on the Moon: A Voyage with Neil
Armstrong, Michael Collins, Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. Little, Brown,
- Glenn, John, with
Taylor, Nick. John Glenn: A Memoir. Bantam, 1999.
- Hengeveld, Ed.
Apollo Vacuum Chamber Tests Part 1: 2TV-1. Spaceflight
magazine, March 2000, pp.127-130. Part 2: LTA-8. Spaceflight magazine,
April 2000, pp.171-174.
- Hitt, David; Garriott, Owen and
Kerwin, Joseph. Homesteading Space, 2008.
- Kozloski, Lillian.
U.S. Space Gear: Outfitting the Astronaut. Smithsonian Institution
Press, Washington, D.C., 1994.
- Kranz, Gene.
Failure Is Not an Option. Simon and Schuster, 2000.
- Meuser, Philipp. Galina
Balashova: Architect of the Soviet Space Program. Dom Publishers,
- Murray, Charles and Cox, Catherine
Bly. Apollo, The Race to the Moon. Simon and Schuster, 1989.
- Slayton, Donald
K. and Cassutt, Michael. Deke! Forge, 1994.
- Southwell, David.
Once-Lost 'Apollo' Mural Graces Astronauts' Eatery. Chicago Sun-Times,
8 June 1999.
- Townsend, Major-General E.D.
Anecdotes of the Civil War in the United States. D. Appleton
and Company, New York. 1884.