Crew: 
David R. Scott
Alfred M. Worden
James B. Irwin

Dates:
26 July-7 August 1971

Design:
Emilio Pucci
Artwork:
Jerry Elmore


Apollo 15

"The mission patch for Apollo 15 was basically designed by the Italian dress designer, Emilio Pucci. We had as a crew evaluated some 540 different designs for our crew patch. They appeared either too mechanical or to have nothing to do with the flight, so finally, through a mutual friend, we asked Pucci if he would help us with the design. Now, Pucci, as I best recall, was an aeronautical engineer and had a good feeling for flight. With his artistic nature, we felt that he would be very helpful in the patch design. He did send us a design which was basically the same as the patch we eventually used, however the colors were in the normal Pucci blues, purples, and greens. We took his design, changed it from a square to a circular patch, made it red, white and blue, and put a lunar background behind the three stylized birds that were the major Pucci contribution. The symbology is of three stylized birds flying over the lunar surface, each indicating one of us who were on the flight. The lunar surface behind the patch shows the landing site (next to Hadley Rille at the foot of the Appenine Mountains) and directly behind the stylized birds is a crater formation that spells "15" in Roman numerals. You can also see from the stylized birds that they fly in formation with one on top and two closer to the lunar surface, indicating those who actually landed."

--Al Worden, from All We Did Was Fly to the Moon

A written note from Dave Scott to Stanley Jacobsen (from Still, p.181) illustrates some of the changes made toward the end of the design iterations:

"We have a few modifications we would like to make to the final [design]:
   "1. Attached is a somewhat different scale photo for the surface at Hadley. In particular we have tried to include the unique characteristics of the Rille...
   "2. We feel that the contrast is adequate to eliminate the white borders around the [vector] shapes and use only red, white, and blue over the landing site.
   "3. We also think the white border inside the inner red circle is unnecessary.
   "4. The phases of the moon for XV is well done; although I guess that representation for [Apollo] 15 is still questionable. One suggestion was to place that concept somewhere on the surface..."

With respect to embroidered patches, Apollo 15 marks a watershed. Until Apollo 15, Lion Brothers seemed consistently to produce embroidered patches that were more faithful to the patch artwork than those of AB Emblem. This is particularly noticable in the Apollo 7, 10, 13 and 14 patches. Beginning with Apollo 15 roles were reversed, with AB Emblem making patches which were consistently more faithful than Lion Brothers. The one point on which the Lion Brothers patches seemed consistently at variance with the design was the size of the lettering. This is most noticable in the Apollo 15 and 17 patches.

NASA photo Beta cloth patch

[ap15-aw1]
NASA photo ID: S71-30463
Taken: 4 May 1971


[ap15-bc1]
Beta cloth version of the Apollo 15 patch.
89mm dia

AB Emblem patch

[ap15-em1]
AB Emblem embroidered Apollo 15 patch. This patch has the "XV" hallmark designed into the patch. Until now, the Lion Brothers patches tended to follow the artwork more faithfully than the AB Emblem patches. This tendency reverses beginning with Apollo 15.
101mm w × 102mm h

Lion Brothers patch Apollo 15 hallmark

[ap15-em2]
This Apollo 15 patch has the "XV" hallmark sewn in silver. According to the description of lot 547 of the May 2003 Aurora Galleries auction, which included a similar "silver hallmark" patch, it was "one of four proof samples supplied by the AB Emblem Company prior to production of the final patch. This particular patch is unique because it includes silver embroidery of the XV [hallmark]". However, more of the "silver hallmark" patches were obviously made at some point in time, since three lots (408, 409 and 410) in the October 2002 AG auction, lot 538 in the May 2003 AG auction, lot 680 in the April 2004 AG auction, and lot 467 in the October 2004 AG auction all included such a patch. Regardless, they are clearly very rare.

[ap15-em3]
This version of the Apollo 15 patch has the "XV" hallmark sewn in gold. Lot 535 of the May 2003 Aurora Galleries auction included such a patch, and noted that this was "done only for patches for the astronauts' personal possession." According to Bill Hunt, there were fewer of these made than of the silver version. My thanks to Bill Hunt for both this image and the one of the silver hallmarked patch.

Lion Brothers patch Apollo 15 hallmark

[ap15-em4]
The Lion Brothers embroidered Apollo 15 patch. The crater outlines making up the "hallmark" are in white here, instead of black, making it almost invisible.The standard Lion Brothers hallmark (see photo to right) is used instead. The lettering is oversized on this patch -- the crew names occupy nearly half the circumference.
101mm w × 102mm h

The Lion Brothers hallmark -- the number "15" upside down near the "D" in Worden's name.

     
 

This photo shows the patch on Dave Scott's flight suit. Like most patches (but unlike Apollo 8), the beta cloth was trimmed to a square around the circular patch before being sewn onto the suit. The suit is currently on display at the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC. This isn't a flown patch, though: as standard procedure, upon return the flown beta-cloth patch was removed from the suit and given to the astronaut who wore it; it was then replaced with a fresh, unflown beta-cloth patch. Photo courtesy of David Woods.

 
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