Walter Schirra
Donn Eisele
Walter Cunningham


Walter Cunningham


Allen Stevens

Apollo 7

“The Apollo 7 design itself highlighted the earth orbital nature of the mission. It was our original intention to emphasize the first manned Apollo (Gus Grissom’s flight) and the recovery from the fire on the pad aspects as well. We considered a spacecraft rising from a ball of fire and calling it the Phoenix. The patch designed was subject to NASA approval and we abandoned the Phoenix theme feeling it would be rejected as in bad taste. I zeroed in on a circle (for the Earth) and an ellipse (for orbit). The orbital plane was tilted for artistic reasons.”

—Walt Cunningham, The All-American Boys

This patch, and all patches through ASTP were worn on the left breast.

The creator of this patch was unknown until May 2008, when Ed Hengeveld and Noah Bradley identified Allen Stevens of North American Rockwell as the artist.

For years, Walt Cunningham has been pained by the really awful interpretations of the design he was instumental in creating. In 2010 he undertook (with the assistance of Shuttle-era patch artist Tim Gagnon) to issue a limited edition of 300, painstakingly crafted to capture the original design. They are without a doubt, the definitive embroidered version of this patch. Mr. Cunningham has made them available through his own website,

NASA photo S68-26668

Beta cloth version of the Apollo 7 patch.
109mm w × 76mm h

According to John Bisney, this is the embroidered patch that the crew wore on their post-recovery jumpsuits. The white circular part was trimmed away prior to use. Thanks to Bill Hunt for this image.
104mm dia

In 2010, overwhelmed by the pervasive sight of the incredibly ugly AB Emblem patch (see below), Walt Cunningham undertook to make a definitive embroidered version of the Apollo 7 design. This is how the Apollo 7 patch should be remembered.
108mm w × 81mm h

AB Emblem embroidered Apollo 7 patch. The crew names are not Eurostile Extended, which seriously changes the proportions; the exhaust trail is misshapen; and the CSM bears only a superficial resemblance to the original. Finally, the “VII” designation — which defines the horizontal axis — is rotated anti-clockwise, which causes the rest of the patch to be tilted clockwise. Sadly, this is by far the most often seen version of the Apollo 7 patch.
117mm w × 97mm h

The Lion Brothers embroidered Apollo 7 patch is a much better rendition than the AB Emblem patch. However, the lettering is still not the correct Eurostile Extended; and a white border has been added surrounding the Earth. There are two variants of this patch: one has a purple background, the other a dark blue (neither of which is correct — it should be black).
115mm w × 88mm h

A 2006 remake of the Apollo 7 patch by Randy Hunt. A vast improvement over the previously available designs, but overshadowed by Walt Cunningham’s authentic remake.
117mm w × 95mm h

These proposals by artist Al Stevens show how the concept of a CM-shaped patch evolved, a concept which culminated in the final Apollo 8 patch. Clearly, the idea of a Phoenix was seriously investigated before being dropped. The last image shows the beginning of a series that evolved into the final Apollo 7 patch. All these images are from the collection of Noah Bradley, and used with his kind permission. More images of the evolution of the Apollo 7 design can be seen in the article by Hengeveld.

NASA photo S68-33744
The Apollo 7 crew pose for a portrait in the White Room. This was taken in May 1968.

This detail from the crew portrait photo clearly shows that the patches on the crew suits at the time were neither Beta cloth nor embroidered. They were probably vinyl — note the reflections on Eisele’s and Cunningham’s patches. Apparently the beta cloth patches had not yet been produced at the time of this photo.

NASA photo KSC-68PC-211
The Apollo 7 crew aboard the USS Essex, CVS-9.

This detail from the photo at left shows that the patch worn on the recovery jumpsuit was almost certainly [ap07-em3].

An unusual use for a patch — the Apollo 7 patch is used here as decoration for a helicopter landing pad. Presumably this was for a visit of the Apollo 7 crew.

This detail from the previous photo clearly shows the Apollo 7 patch.