American Crew: 
Thomas P. Stafford
Vance D. Brand
Donald K. "Deke" Slayton

Dates:
15-24 July 1975

Soviet Crew: 
Alexei Leonov
Valeri Kubasov

Dates:
15-21 July 1975

Artist:
Jean Pinataro


Apollo Soyuz
Test Project

This is the official American crew patch for the Apollo-Soyuz flight, though the Soviet crew also wore this patch on the flight. The Soviet crew had their own patch which they wore in addition.

[apso-ap2]
This is Jean Pinataro's original design, provided by the JSC History Department.


The ASTP patch was designed by Jean Pinataro of North American Rockwell, the prime contractor for the Apollo CSM. It was selected by the crew from an industry-wide competition. Pinataro's initial version of the ASTP patch (shown at left) was submitted by JSC Director Chris Kraft for approval in May 1974, but was disapproved by NASA Headquarters, with the explanation that "since this is a significant international project ... perhaps a patch depicting more of the international significance might merit further consideration." In mid-June the same patch, without change, was again submitted by Kraft, stating that while the crew had reconsidered the design, they felt that it did, in fact, reflect the international flavor of the flight.

In August, the design was firmly refused, with an offer "to provide funds from the NASA Artist Program for the crew to engage an artist of their choice to help develop a suitable design."

Under quite restrictive direction from the astronaut office, Pinataro re-designed the patch, with a central vignette derived from Robert McCall's 1974 painting of the subject. Notably absent from the design is McCall's signature "cross" sunburst, which was removed due to concerns that it would be percieved as a religious symbol. She recalls: "[the crew] called all the shots on it, like how large to make the vehicles, where to put the sun, and how far the rays should extend, definitely not to the earth, etc. I recall being annoyed that the astronaut's directions were so explicit that I was unable to connect the three elements in that central area." In December this significantly re-designed image was submitted for approval, which was finally granted.

The expression of reasons for disapproval of the first design as communicated to the crew were particularly vague. I suspect this was intentional, and that the real reasons were withheld from the crew due to their close working relationship with the Soviet crew. Behind the scenes the real objections were that the design was "cartoonish," pointing out the stars on the flags: on the American flag the stars were not uniform in size and placement, and on the Soviet side there were two stars (there was actually only one on the Soviet flag); and that the Soyuz spacecraft is made to look larger than the Apollo, when in fact it is smaller. Such petty considerations are the domain of politics, and this was an entirely political endeavor. The final, approved version of the patch had many design elements in common with the first -- the biggest change being the removal of the national flag motifs. The Soyuz is still portrayed in a way that makes it seem at least equal in size to the Apollo spacecraft, but this can be explained away as a matter of perspective. Not to mention the fact that this was a virtual copy of an image that had already seen widespread dissemination -- making it difficult to object to. Personally, I find it rather amusing to observe that the Soviet crew patch is based on the flag design elements that were removed from the American patch.

"APOLLO" and the American astronaut names appear in Latin script, while "SOYUZ" and the Soviet cosmonaut names appear in Cyrillic. The 3 stars in the blue field, and the 2 stars in the red field, represent the American and Soviet crews, respectively.

The ASTP project patch, created by a Russian artist, was carefully designed to eliminate any bias by having APOLLO and SOYUZ appear on opposite sides of the patch, which had no inherent up/down or left/right orientation.
 

Robert McCall painting
[apso-aa1]
The painting by Robert McCall which clearly served as the inspiration for the central image of the final ASTP patch. The cross-like rays from the sun were eliminated, due to concern that they might be misinterpreted as having religious overtones.

NASA photo Beta cloth patch

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NASA photo ID: S75-20361
Taken: 27 Feb 1975


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Beta cloth version of the
Apollo-Soyuz patch.
88mm w × 89mm h

AB Emblem patch DKS patch

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AB Emblem embroidered Apollo-Soyuz crew patch. The gold border on this patch has metallic threads.
103mm dia

[apso-em2dks]
A special AB Emblem embroidered Apollo-Soyuz crew patch. Apparently a set of these 4-1/2-inch patches was made for the American ASTP crew, similar to those made for Apollo 17. This one has Slayton's initials, "DKS", embroidered in yellow thread at the bottom of the patch. This patch was auctioned as lot #878 in the Fall 2003 Aurora Galleries Space & Aviation Memorabilia Auction (and fetched $1200!).

Lion Brothers patch ASTP hallmark

[apso-em3]
Lion Brothers embroidered Apollo-Soyuz crew patch. The crew names run together without any gap between Slayton and Leonov.
101mm dia.

The Lion Brothers hallmark, the letters "ASTP", can be seen above Leonov's name in the cloud patterns.

ASTP project patch

The official ASTP project patch, designed by a Soviet artist to avoid any bias toward either side. NASA photo S74-17843.

 
ASTP project patch ASTP project patch

This photo of Valeriy Kubasov during the ASTP mission shows that the Soviets wore two mission patches -- one of American design, and one of Soviet -- as well as a Soviet crest and flag. NASA Photo ID AST-5-305.

[soap-em1]
An original Soviet crew patch. It appears that this patch consisted of a base of red felt, with the remaining colors embroidered on that base. "VII-1975" at the bottom refers to the date of the flight, July 1975. My thanks to Luc van den Abeelen for this image.

Soviet ASTP patch Reproduction Soviet ASTP patch

[soap-em2]
A reproduction of the Soviet crew patch. This patch shows signs of wear, so it may be an older repro, perhaps made in the Soviet Union.
114mm w × 114mm h

[soap-em3]
A reproduction of the Soviet crew patch. According to John Bisney this was manufactured by Stewart Aviation of the UK. Not very faithful to the original design, this one is all-embroidered, has straight instead of curved sides, and the bottom side is too narrow.
115mm w × 116mm h

ASTP Medallion
The Manned Flight Awareness medallion created for ASTP used the American crew patch for the obverse design. The reverse reads, in English and Russian, "This medallion contains metal from both Apollo and Soyuz that joined together in the first International manned space mission on July 15-24, 1975."

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