Spot the Difference

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.

Signatura - Needle Painters Guild Commorative Tableaus

A fairly common site on eBay are these exquisite framed patches. These were issued by the Needle Painters Guild and commorate various aspects of the early Apollo space program. Some of the backboards bear stitching about the moment in history. All appear to have identical cardboard backs. Some frames are white and some are brown, all are plastic. The Needle Painters Guild operated from the same facility of A-B Emblem and this are the single source for the patches used.

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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