The Apollo 9 mission patch is simple and straightforward. The mission
was the first crewed test of both Apollo spacecraft -- the CSM and
the LM. It was launched on a Saturn V. The blue background may represent
the Earth, this being an earth-orbital mission.
The only subtlety is the red interior of
the "D" in McDivitt. Apollo 9 was the "D" mission in Owen Maynard's
plan of missions:
development; lunar-return entry velocity
||Lunar module development,
propulsion and staging
||CSM evaluation / crew performance
||CSM deep space evaluation
[a later addition to the plan]
||LM evaluation / CSM crew performance
||CSM / LM combined deep space
||Lunar mission / deep space
"...Owen Maynard presented plans for scheduling seven types
of missions that would lead step by step to the ultimate goal.
He described these steps, "A" through "G," with G as the lunar
landing mission." --Chariots
I've always wondered why the LM is shown "nose-to-nose" with the
CSM instead of in the docked position; but in the original artwork,
it's obvious that the two spacecraft are in the "stationkeeping"
attitude. The embroidered patches (except for the "flown"
patch, [ap09-em1]), and to a lesser degree the
beta cloth patch [ap09-bc1], depict them so close
together you would expect them to be docked.
There are several derivative versions based on Al Steven's design.
[ap09-aw1] is the original artwork, with [ap09-aw2] being
a secondary, derivative execution, and [ap09-aw3] being a loose
interpretation. Even without knowing that [ap09-aw1] was the artist's
final version, it's quite clear, since it incorporates
more details and subtlties of execution than [ap09-aw2] -- and details
and subtlety are invariably what fall away in subsequent generations
-- they never accumulate. Examples: the rendering of the Saturn
V is more "anatomically correct" in [ap09-aw1] -- notice
the length of the S-IVB stage, and the varying diameter between
the tankage and intertank areas; the LES protrudes into the red
border in [ap09-aw1]; and the mottled background in [ap09-aw1] is unlikely
to have been used in a derivative work if the original was a solid
blue. Fianlly, the lettering in [ap09-aw1] is also more faithful
to the Eurostile Extended font than that in [ap09-aw2] (the font
subtleties are not immediately apparent in the photos shown here,
but are evident in larger images).
Previous to May 2008, when Ed Hengeveld and Noah Bradley definitively
identified Allen Stevens of North American Rockwell as the artist, Norman
Tiller had been proposed as the creator of this patch. Perhaps Tiller
executed one of the copies, [ap09-aw2] or [ap09-aw3].
NASA photo ID: S69-18569
The original artwork for the Apollo 9 patch.
NOTE: It's possible the photo IDs for
this image and ap09-aw2 are reversed. Stay tuned.
NASA photo ID: S69-19974
Taken: 6 Feb 1969
This derivative artwork shows several variations from ap09-aw1:
the Saturn V has been reduced in size (the escape tower
of the Saturn V does not extend into the red rim, and the
yellow oval now crosses the middle of the LSA, rather than
the IU); the CSM and LM are closer together; the termination
of the yellow oval near the SPS is an arrow tail rather
than an arrow head; and the mottled black/blue background
has been replaced with a solid navy blue.
This "plaque" (from the NASA photo 69-HC-0098)
deviates far more from the original than does ap09-aw2:
the Saturn V has become much fatter, the yellow oval is
far smaller, and tilted close to 45 degrees; the spacecraft
are smaller and closer together; and most noticable of all,
the lettering is no longer Eurostile Extended. I can't
help noting that in the photo of the crew
showing this to the press, they don't look anywhere near as
happy as they do when showing off the
Beta cloth version of the Apollo 9 patch. While the silkscreened
artwork for beta cloth patches usually adheres pretty closely
to the original artwork, in this case the lettering style
was altered from the original Eurostile Extended (it is,
at least, an extended font); and the general proportions
and arrangements are off, including the size, shape and
angle of the yellow oval.
This embroidered patch, which was lot #775 in Superior Galleries
Fall 2001 Space Memorabilia auction, is described as being
a flown patch from the collection of Dave Scott.Note that
the lettering is Eurostile rather than Eurostile Extended.
This photo is from the Superior Galleries auction catalog.
Embroidered version (AB Emblem) of the Apollo 9 patch. The
most noticeable deviation from the design is the use of
a font with proportions considerably different from Eurostile
Extended. The depictions of the CSM and LM are also very
98mm w × 100mm h
Another embroidered Apollo 9 patch, apparently from Lion
Brothers. A little better than the AB Emblem version, but
not much. A bit surprising since, during this period, Lion
Brothers usually made much more faithful patches than this
(compare Apollo 7, 8 and 10 patches). Note that in this
and the AB Emblem patch, the configuration of the two spacecraft
is even more puzzling than the design, since their proximity
makes it appear they are docked -- an impossibility in this
This recent rendering of the Apollo 9 patch is by far the
most faithful 4" embroidered version I've ever seen
-- though it follows ap09-aw2 rather than ap09-aw1. I obtained
this patch from Spaceflight Now. (Sadly, it's no longer
by Al Stevens for the Apollo 9 patch. At the time he did this, the
mission was intended to follow Apollo 7, and was thus called Apollo
8. The mission actually flown as Apollo 8 was inserted in the
sequence when it became clear that the LM was seriously behind schedule.
this Al Stevens rendering is close to the final Apollo 9 patch. The
hardware will be shuffled around a bit, the Saturn V coloring will
change, and the orbit will be tilted around 40° clockwise, but
otherwise this is it. Thanks to Noah Bradley for this image and the
one to the left.
NASA photo S69-17590
Despite the photo number, this crew portrait was taken in
from the crew portrait above
shows that the crew were wearing embroidered patches at
the time. This patch matches the "flown"
patch ap09-em1 pictured above.
NASA photo S69-18876
The Apollo 9 crew showing off their mission patch [ap09-aw1].
This appears to be either the original artwork for the patch,
or a reproduction of it.
NASA photo 69-HC-0098
The Apollo 9 crew with their mission patch [ap09-aw3]
at a press conference on 25 January 1969. I believe that
this was the plaque which was mounted on the door of the
astronaut transfer van. Thanks to Ed Hengeveld for this
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