Gemini 5: Mission Commander Gordon Cooper's Worn and Flown Space Suit Insignia Patch Originally from His Personal Collection, with Signed and Certified Storage Envelope.
This is the very 4" embroidered mission insignia patch that was on Cooper's space suit during this record-breaking mission with Pete Conrad, August 21-29, 1965. Previous to this, American space missions had no individualized insignia. Astronauts White and McDivitt, of Gemini 4, had wanted to name their spacecraft American Eagle
but it was forbidden by NASA. They did, however, set quite a precedent by sewing American flags on their space suits. Cooper and Conrad desired their mission to have a unique insignia, as was tradition by most military units. Cooper wanted to use a Conestoga Wagon image to symbolize the pioneering nature of the mission with the slogan "8 Days or Bust". This was to be the longest mission attempted by either the U.S. or U.S.S.R. to that date. NASA brass gave in on the patch but put their foot down on the slogan; their thinking was that it placed too much emphasis on the duration and not enough on the experiments performed. The compromise was that a piece of cloth would be sewn across the wagon, hiding the slogan. They followed the rules laid down, and every subsequent U.S. mission has had its own insignia. Included with this lot is the envelope that Cooper used to store this patch in his collection. He has written: "This is the Patch Flown/ on Cooper's Suit on Gemini V/ Gordon Cooper
" as well as an 8" x 10" B&W glossy photo of Cooper and Conrad in space suits on the deck of the recovery ship wearing their patches. Close-up inspection of NASA image S65-51442 shows a perfect match. Also included is an early photocopy of a memo, dated August 18, 1965, sent from Deke Slayton in Flight Crew Operations to all astronauts spelling out the policy of personal items on space flights and mission badges. Light wear on patch, excellent condition.
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