STS-51L - 4" - A-B Emblem Crew version

The tenth mission for Challenger, STS-51-L was scheduled to deploy the second in a series of Tracking and Data Relay Satellites, carry out the first flight of the Shuttle-Pointed Tool for Astronomy (SPARTAN-203)/Halley's Comet Experiment Deployable in order to observe Halley's Comet, and carry out several lessons from space as part of the Teacher in Space Project and Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP). The flight marked the first American orbital mission to involve in-flight fatalities. It was also the first American human spaceflight mission to launch and fail to reach space; the first such mission in the world had been the Soviet Soyuz 18a mission, in which the two crew members had survived. Gregory Jarvis was originally scheduled to fly on the previous shuttle flight (STS-61-C), but was re-assigned to this flight and replaced by Congressman Bill Nelson

The crew version of the STS-51L patch is readily identifiable by the white backing on to which it was sewn. Some modern A-B emblem patches can be found with white backing as well, but they have different front stitching. The crew version also appears to have a waffle texture on the backing as well. While many were carried on the flight and many were destroyed, a large number were recovered and interred by NASA with the rest of the Challenger remains. A few appear at auction from various astronaut estates and have premium prices. 

It has recently been discovered that some of the crew-version patches (gray body, white tab) made it in to the KSC gift store packaging. 


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