| Apollo 14
Apollo 14's oval design is chiefly remarkable for the odd choice of lettering used. The weight contrast in the font used for "APOLLO 14" poses challenges for both the printer and the embroiderer, as the slender strokes practically disappear at smaller reproduction sizes. The script lettering used for the crew names calls for fine detail which, combined with its lack of contrast in relation to the gold border, tends to make the names practically disappear.
Almost alone among the pictorial designs of this era, space is depicted as blue instead of the correct black. Apollo 10's design is the other anomaly, but it's depiction is such a dark blue it isn't quite as jarring as this design.
The object in the image which is depicted heading for the moon from the Earth
is an astronaut pin. Astronauts were given a silver version of this pin when
they were accepted into the astronaut corps; and were given a gold version of the pin after their
first space flight.
Shepard, though he
had been the first American in space, had only the 15 minutes of
flight time he accrued during his sub-orbital hop in Mercury. While
in training for the Gemini program, Shepard developed Meniere's
Syndrome, and was grounded until 1969. The brief experience he had
of spaceflight led other astronauts to jokingly call him a "rookie." As his two crewmates were, in fact, rookies, the Apollo 14 crew
was referred to as "the three rookies."
Of note too, is the fact that Shepard was the only one of the original
Mercury astronauts to fly to the moon.
The astronaut pin as a design motif had its beginning with the
Apollo 14 patch. It wasn't until 1984 that it made a return appearance,
on the STS-41G patch. Beginning with the STS-53 mission in 1992,
the astronaut pin has been incorporated in various forms on at least
31 Shuttle mission patches, making it one of the most
often-used (indeed, overused) design motifs on U.S. mission patches.
NASA photo ID: S70-17851
Taken: 21 Sep 1970
Beta cloth version of the Apollo 14 patch.
103mm w × 90mm h
AB Emblem embroidered Apollo 14 patch. The astronaut pin
is all yellow, with no beveling. The tan border stitching
is horizontal rather than concentric. Smaller than circular
4-inch patches, as the long axis of the oval is about 4
103mm w × 90mm h
Just slightly smaller than the AB Emblems patch, this patch
of unknown origin shows beveling in the astronaut pin. While
none of the embroidered patches shown here are as oblate
as the artwork (which has an oblateness of 1.15), this patch
is the roundest, at 1.10. (The AB Emblem patch most closely
matches the artwork in this respect, with an oblateness
98mm w × 89mm h
Lion Brothers embroidered Apollo 14 patch. As with the Apollo
13 patch, the Lion Bros version more faithfully reproduces
the artwork. The astronaut pin shows beveling as in the
artwork (though it's a bit too large); and the lunar surface
more closely resembles the artwork. This patch is substantially
larger than the AB Emblem version, as the short axis is
slightly over 4".
118mm w × 106mm h
The Lion Brothers hallmark -- the number
"14", upside-down on the lunar surface, opposite the point
of the star.
The backup crew for Apollo 14 was Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans, and Joe
Engle. In his book, The Last Man on the Moon,
Cernan describes a spoof his crew pulled on Alan Shepard's prime crew:
"[Shepard] took our good-natured ribbing about his crew being tagged as the
Three Rookies. Ron, Joe and I called ourselves the First Team, to infer that we
were better than they were."
"Every flight has a personalized crew patch, and Apollo 14 was no different,
except for one thing -- we were the first and only backup crew to have a
mission patch, too! This loony idea was a 'gotcha' on Al, for it depicted a
gray-bearded Wile. E. 'Three Rookies' Coyote coming up from Earth only to
find a 'First Team' Roadrunner already standing on the Moon, chirping his
"All the way to the Moon and back, even on the lunar surface, whenever the
crew opened a box, bag or locker, out would float a First Team mission patch.
Ron, Joe and I, as the backup crew, had final access to the spacecraft, and
while we set the switches and checked the gauges, we also stuffed our
Roadrunner patches into every nook and cranny, setting up a future mini-blizzard
of "gotchas" for the Three Rookies. Perhaps the most repeated phrase on the
private radio loop during the flight of Apollo 14 was Shepard's annoyance
when still another patch would suddenly appear. "Tell Cernan," he growled,
"Beep-beep, his ass."
--Eugene Cernan, The Last Man on the Moon
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