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Gemini Titan V


Photo Credit and Image Copyright EarthToTheMoon.com
Gemini V
                      Flown Patch From Pete Conrad Collection
Gemini V Flown Patch Certificate Of
                      Authenticity From Odyssey
Gemini V Flown Patch From Conrad Collection
Odyssey Certificate Of Authenticity For Patch
This artifact is a flown mission patch from Gemini V.

NASA disapproved of the slogan "8 Days Or Bust", so the patches worn on the astronaut's space suits were modified to cover up the slogan.  A memo about the patch was written to Chief Of the Astronaut Office, Deke Slayton, by NASA Administrator James Webb. This memo was dated just seven days before the launch of Gemini Titan V.

In that memo Administrator Webb wrote,

"Office Of The Administrator - August 14, 1965
 
Memorandum For: Mr. Donald K. Slayton, MSC, Houston, Texas
 
As I promised at Houston the question of the identification patch or emblem that Cooper and Conrad wish to wear on the Gemini flight 5 has been thoroughly discussed and it is now agreed by Gilruth, Mueller, Dryden, Seamans, and myself as follows:
 
  1. On GT-5 and future Gemini flights, such identification may be worn on the right breast beneath the nameplate of the astronaut:  said "patch" to be no larger than the NASA emblem worn on the left breast.  This patch will be referred to by the generic name of the "Cooper patch."  If such "Cooper patch" is not to be worn, the designation of the flight 'Gemini 6" or "Gemini 7" may be suitably put beneath the nameplate.
  2. For GT-5 the "Cooper patch" will be the one submitted except that the size must be in accordance with paragraph 2 above, unless it is impossible to get it remade in time, and it must be worn on the suit at the location specified.
  3. For Gemini flights after GT-5, the crew commander or senior pilot will be permitted to designate or design or recommend a "Cooper patch" for his flight, subject to approval by both the Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center and the Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight at NASA Headquarters.  Until further notice, the Associate Administrator for Manned Space flight will, prior to approval, submit the design to the Administrator for his concurrence.
  4. A policy for flights after the present Gemini series will be recommended by the Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center.
 
While the above decision has been made because of the strong personal appeal Cooper made to me, I must say I have some concern about the fact that it was made so late and that the most urgent and important factors affecting the Gemini program seem to get involved in a moral matter such as this and at the last moment.  I believe it is your responsibility to avoid this in the future.

When we are dealing with matters which affect the way elements of these programs are viewed in may different counters by many different nationalities, we cannot leave to the crew the decision with respect to these matters no matter how strongly they feel that they would like to have some element of individuality.  In this case, both Dr. Gilruth and I have a very strong concern about the "8 days or bust" motto.  I wish it could be omitted.  If the flight does not go 8 days, there are many who are going to say that it was "busted".  Further, whether we get the 8 days or not, the way the language will be translated in certain countries will not be benefit of the United States.

As I explained to Cooper, there is the strongest desire on my part to pay very real attention to any and every request made, even on a personal basis, by any of the seven original astronauts.  To each of them, as those who were the real pioneers, we will endeavor to give every possible consideration and benefit of every doubt.  However I believe they and all the astronauts must learn to do the same with respect to the judgment of the senior officials of this agency regarding the matters on which we are required to have a broader view then they can have.

James E. Webb
Administrator"

There are some space patch collector experts on the Internet who argue that this type of machine embroidered patch was not flown.  Their main point of contention is that this patch differs from the one that was worn on the Gemini spacesuits of Astronauts Cooper and Conrad.  The patch worn on the spacesuits was hand embroidered.

Personally I do not put much credence into that argument.   Both Astronauts Cooper and Conrad have signed statements which certify that these machine embroidered patches were indeed flown.  I accept the assertions of the astronauts involved in the mission over the opinion of a space patch collector.

This patch was part of the Pete Conrad collection.  It was place up for Auction by Odyssey in January 2004.  The auction was number 11767 and this was lot number 499 from that auction.


The auction description stated: "Gemini V Space Flown Patch From Pete Conrad.  A rare original astronaut's patch flown on the historic Gemini V mission by legendary moonwalker Charles 'Pete' Conrad.  The patch was originally produced using a design and theme in which Conrad and fellow astronaut Gordon Cooper collaborated on.  It featured the motto '8 Days Or Bust,' which NASA disliked (and scrapped) due to the fact that the word "bust" was deemed not tasteful in the event of a disaster.  Nonetheless, while the patches on the astronaut's suits were changed, Conrad took this patch along in his personal preference kit to make the journey.  Originally from the collection of Conrad."

The Earth To The Moon Air & Space Museum acquired this artifact from the Odyssey Auction.

Accompanying this artifact is a certificate of authenticity from Odyssey.  The certificate of authenticity states, "Odyssey hereby unconditionally guarantees the authenticity of the item described herein: Gemini V Space Flown Patch.  The guarantee extends only to the original purchaser and is without time limit.  Bill Miller. February 4, 2004. Auction 11767."

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UPDATED : January 9, 2007
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