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:

Like many crew patches, early prototypes are sent to NASA and the crew for evaluation. STS-76 had such a prototype:

You may notice that the outline of Mir was done mostly in white thread. There is also an extra set of solar arrays that are not found on the A-B Emblem version. Curiously, the story doesn't end there. Apparently NASA patch supplier Space Coast International, operated by Jerry Brown, provide a version that flew up in the Official Preference Kit, so there's an alternate STS-76 flown version as well:


This version closely resembles the A-B Emblem version, however there are a few subtle differences, the most obvious being the extra set of solar arrays on Mir. The outline detail on Mir is also distinct. 


Special thanks to Kevin Randall for help filling in the gaps.