STS-114 A-B Emblem variations

Crew changes are the most common source of patch variations. STS-114 is no exception. Moderate production of the STS-114 patch had begun when the crew was shuffled. The first version features a smaller shuttle. There are reproductions as well as "fantasy" versions of the early artwork from Randy Hunt. The A-B Emblem original is easy to identify by the solid red outline of the continents as well as the use of a directional embroidery in the continents as well. Patches with a bare cloth backing have been found, which is unusual for A-B Emblem. 

First version:

ISS Expedition 46 Variations

Two "official" versions of the ISS-46 patch were created. Production (of at least 700) of the first version of the patch had been started of the first design with the squared "46". Without explanation, production was ceased and a replacement design with a rounded "46" was started. There was some rumor that the original 46 looked a bit like the insignia of Ukiranian battallion called "Azov Battalion", but there is no confirmation of that. Spaceboosters LTD of the UK also produced their own version of the patch as they were tired of waiting for A-B Emblems to fulfill their order. 

STS-103 A-B Emblem variation

Two versions of the STS-103 patch have been uncovered. The variation may be a lot production error that missed quality control, however. The color variations do not appear to be intentional so it would is likely not a be a crew evaluation version. The number of patches produced is difficult to determine, it could be as few as 25 or as many as 100, but likely a standard production run of 50. They were available for purchase at the Goddard Visistors Center gift shop. 

The differences in the error version:

STS-76 Crew Patch Variations

There are always fun surprises uncovered when researching patches, sometimes where you least expect it. The STS-76 patch is no exception. At first glance the STS-76 appears to be a standard crew patch, issued in the midlife of the shuttle program. The "76" number was used to commemorate the signing of the US Declaration of Independance so the colors are clearly patriotic in red, white and blue and there is much standard symbolism, from the 13 stars to the stars and stripes. 

Souvenir A-B Emblem STS-76 patch:

STS-78 Crew Patch Variations

As a patch collector there's always a modest amount of due diligence involved in both identifying patches and seeing how they fit into the program. Chris Spain has done an amazing job of cataloging crew patches up through the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project on his Crew Patches web site. It's an invaluable resource when trying to identify vintage patches. There aren't such cut and dried resources for STS and later patches, though does a great job of this as well. 

First Lunar Landing of Mankind - the Enigma

The "First Lunar Landing of Mankind" patch is a commonly spotted patch, often in lots with other Apollo patches. However, some investigation about the origin of this patch has made the background and origin of this patch very confusing. I present evidence items A and B:

STS-101 Variations

Every issue of a NASA patch will have several variations due to a number of contributing factors:

  • Crew change
  • Manifest change
  • Mission cancellation/reschedule
  • Artwork change

The STS-101 mission emblem had several of these impact the design and subsequent issues of the patch. This patch has at least 5 identified variations and I will try to document them here.

STS-35 crew patch variations

In 1990 I bought the official STS-35 patch from A-B Emblem.
I don't know why but in December 1990 I had a look at the STS-35 crew picture and
specially at the patches attached to the orange space suits.

Variations in A-B Emblem's KSC Packaging

Often times a patch will come up for sale or auction that is in its original packaging. A unique item to add to your collection and a sure way to know that the patch has never been exposed to the environment. Knowing the package can also help you quickly identify different patch manufacturers as well. But how do you quickly identify the patch manufacturer by the packaging? Here is a quick guide.

A-B Emblems

Clear packaging:

Shuttle Carriers of America Variations

There are at least three distinct versions of the "Shuttle Carriers of America" patch that commemorates NASA's fleet of shuttle ferrying 747's and the space shuttles they carried.

NASA was not satisfied with the typeface of the original version, allegedly that it was an unauthorized use of their logo (serifed font). Patches were released with this version which was later revised to a sans-serif font. There is also a reproduction version of the patch which has some cruder stitching. One overt difference is the way the rudder is stiched.


Original Production Run:

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