Site Overview

The Topic

This site covers the patches for all US manned missions prior to the Space Shuttle. It does not cover Shuttle mission or ISS expedition patches (though a reference section that provides images of these patches is available via the "later patches" link at the top of each page); nor patches for Soviet missions or unmanned missions. Some of the "unofficial" patches created during this era are treated.

The Sections

There are basically two sections to this site: a set of background pages which discuss patches in general (links to these pages are located on the navigation bar at the top of the page); and a set of "detail" pages, each devoted to a single patch. "Index" pages, one per project (links to which are on the left navigation bar), include a précis of each flight and a "thumbnail" patch image. Clicking on the thumbnail patch image will take you to the corresponding detail page.

Content of the Detail Pages

Each of the detail pages includes the following:

  • A "standardized" image of the patch in the upper left corner. This is created from the original artwork obtained from NASA. They are all approximately the same size, and have been processed to remove artifacts introduced by the photographic process and subsequent digitization, and to clean up imperfections in the original artwork.
  • An enumeration of the crew, and the dates of the flight.
  • The persons involved in the creation of the patch. In all cases in which the crew did not create the design, they did provide critical input, and had final approval of the design.

    Design
    denotes the persons who created the general design of the patch.
    Artwork
    denotes the person who created the final artwork based on a design provided.
    Artist
    denotes a person, usually commissioned by the crew, who designed the patch -- with input and feedback from the crew -- and who provided the final artwork.
    Source Material
    denotes an artist whose work inspired some aspect of the design, but was not involved in the design of the patch.

  • A description of the design, including any symbolism involved and, where available, background on how the patch was designed.
  • An image of the original artwork, as provided through a NASA press release image. In the case of four Gemini missions, no original artwork is available, and the image is of an "original" embroidered patch. The caption for this image includes a link to the digitized image.
  • For all missions beginning with Apollo 7, an image of the patch as silk-screened onto beta cloth for use on the flight. (Beta cloth patches did not exist prior to Apollo 7.)
  • One or more photos of embroidered forms of the patch. In most cases these are approximately 4" in diameter. 3" versions (which are not included here) are all souvenir versions, and are usually of lower fidelity.
  • In the case of the first Skylab crew patch, there is an additional page which contains an article written by Frank Kelly Freas about how he designed the patch. Inclusion of this article is made possible by the generous permission of Frank Kelly Freas, who retains copyright to the article.

Getting Around the Site

  • The "background" sections of this site are accessed by clicking on the words in the navigation bar at the top of each page.
  • The buttons in the navigation bar to the left will take you to the index pages for each manned flight program. From the index page, you can click on the mission name or on the patch illustration to get to the detail page for that mission.
  • Each patch detail page has buttons at the bottom of the page that will take you to the detail page for the next or previous mission.
  • There is also an "Index Window" that can be opened using the "index window" link at the top of each page. Clicking on this link will open a separate browser window with images of all of the available patches. You can click on any patch image to be taken directly to the detail page for that mission.
This page copyright © 2000-2008 Eugene Dorr.
All rights reserved.