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LTA-8

The LTA-8 test project was run in two phases in the spring and autumn of 1968 with Grumman's test version of the Lunar Module (Lunar Module Test Article 8) sitting inside a huge vacuum chamber to replicate as closely as possible the conditions the vehicle would be exposed to in space.

The embroidered patch shown on the right was created for the original prime crew of Jim Irwin and John Bull.

In fact before the tests started Bull developed a severe sinus problem and had to be replaced by his backup, Grumman consulting pilot Gerry Gibbons.

Jim Irwin and Gerry Gibbons were the crew for three 12 hours tests run on May 27, May 29 and June 1, 1968. Glen Kinglsey (another Grumman consulting pilot) and Joe Gagliano (of the MSC Flight Crew Support Division) were the crew of a 10 hour manned test performed on May 31. During the second series of manned tests in October and November 1968, Kinglsey and Irwin crewed the first test, Gibbons and Kingsley the second and third tests and Irwin and Gibbons the fourth.

Irwin and Gibbons wore the original embroidered LTA-8 patch on their space suits for the photos shown above which taken prior to some of the tests, although since this was an embroidered patch rather than betacloth it had to be removed for safety purposes prior to the tests themselves.

As the original LTA-8 patches were apparently produced in extremely small numbers it's probably not surprising that virtually all the patches seen on the market are replicas. Presumably the absence of high resolution photos of the original patches when the first of these replicas was produced explains why the details of most of these - in particular the pattern of stars and the colors - are not particularly accurate. Subsequent replicas seem to have copied their designs from the first replica rather than from any original source photos, making the three identified replica varieties produced prior to my own version being extremely similar in appearance to each other.

Embroidered LTA-8 Mission Patches

Patch id:

LTA-8 Crew Patch

Worn by crew? Yes, the patches were worn on the space suits of the crew for a photo session prior to the test, although the patches were removed during the test itself.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Unknown.
Distribution: Likely limited to the crew and support staff.
Dimensions: 3¼ x 4⅞" ; 83 x 124mm
Type: Partially embroidered on very dark blue twill. Merrowed edge.
Scarcity: Extremely rare. Only one example known to have been sold to-date.
Value: The only example sold to-date fetched $1180 with a 2TV-1 patch[1]
Notes: This is the version of the LTA-8 patch worn by the crew on their spacesuits for a photo session prior to some of the tests. Note that although the background looks black in this image it is in fact very dark blue.
Patch id:

Crew Patch replica

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: AB Emblem
Distribution: Available exclusively from my Crew Patches store.
Dimensions: 3¼ x 4⅞" ; 82 x 124mm
Type: Partially embroidered on very dark blue twill. Merrowed edge.
Scarcity: Limited production run.
Value: On sale at $20
Notes: This is a high quality replica of the exceptionally rare LTA-8 Crew patch, produced for me by AB Emblem in mid 2011.

These patches are not available via regular retail outlets, or from AB Emblem directly. If you want to purchase one or more of these patches please go to the Crew Patches Store page.

Patch id:

Randy Hunt Replica patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Randy Hunt
Distribution: Was available commercially.
Dimensions: Approx 5" / 126mm high
Type: Partially embroidered on blue twill? Merrowed edge.
Scarcity: Uncommon.
Value: An example sold recently for $31[2]
Notes: A replica patch produced by Randy Hunt (4gator). Probably the best of the older replicas but still easily distinguished for the original by the color of the blue text and the pattern of stars.
Patch id:

[LTA8UNK1] Replica patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Possibly Randy Wagner (Eagle One Aerospace)
Distribution: Was available commercially.
Dimensions: Approx 5" / 126mm high
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge.
Scarcity: Uncommon.
Value: Unknown.
Notes: This replica patch of unknown origin looks similar to the Randy Hunt version but the background appears to be fully embroidered rather than being partially embroidered on blue twill.
The rightmost LM footpad in this version is slightly curved, whereas in the Randy Hunt version on the right they are totally flat.
I believe that this may have been produced by Randy Wagner (Eagle One Aerospace).
Patch id:

[LTA8UNK2] Replica patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Unknown
Distribution: Was available commercially.
Dimensions: Approx 5" / 126mm high
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge.
Scarcity: Uncommon.
Value: Unknown.
Notes: This replica patch of unknown origin has a more rounded dot between the crew names than the Eagle One version. The LEM and wording are also positioned lower in this version and the two parts of the engine bell of the LEM are smaller. Also, note that at all three LM footpads in this version are slightly curved.
2TV-1

2TV-1 was a manned thermal vacuum chamber test of North American Rockwell's Block II Command and Service Module, performed from June 16 to Jun 24, 1968. The mission set out to simulate a complete manned Apollo space mission as closely as possible in vacuum chamber A at the Manned Spacecraft Center.

The 2TV-1 crew consisted of astronauts Joe Kerwin, Joe Engle and Vance Brand, and during the mission they wore beta cloth versions of the mission emblem as visible in the photo on the right.

However, a limited number of embroidered patches were also produced at the time and these were presented to some of the NASA and North American Rockwell support staff working on the project.

Embroidered 2TV-1 Patches

Patch id:

2TV-1 Crew Patch

Worn by crew? No, the crew wore beta cloth mission patches on their sace suits.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Unknown.
Distribution: Likely limited to the crew and NASA.
Dimensions: Body 3" / 75mm
Type: Partially embroidered on blue twill. Stitched border with cut edge.
Scarcity: Extremely rare.
Value: The most recent example to be sold fetched $510 with another selling with an LTA-8 patch for $1180[3].
Notes: This is the version of the 2TV-1 patch worn by NASA and North American Rockwell support crew on their coveralls during the test program.
Patch id:

2TV-1 Crew Patch replica

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: AB Emblem
Distribution: Available exclusively from my Crew Patches store.
Dimensions: Body 2⅞" / 73mm
Type: Partially embroidered on blue twill. Stitched border with cut edge.
Scarcity: Limited production run.
Value: On sale at $15
Notes: This is a high quality replica of the exceptionally rare 2TV-1 Crew patch, produced for me by AB Emblem in mid 2011.

These patches are not available via regular retail outlets, or from AB Emblem directly. If you want to purchase one or more of these patches please go to the Crew Patches Store page.

Patch id:

Don Simpson Replica 2TV-1 patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Don Simpson
Distribution: Was available commercially.
Dimensions: Body 3" / 75mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Stiched border, trimmed edge.
Scarcity: Uncommon.
Value: Unknown.
Notes: A replica patch produced by Don Simpson in the late 1980s. It can be identified by the white text and the shape of the back foot of the Roadrunner, plus the fact that the background is fully embroidered when the original was partially embroidered on blue twill.
Patch id:

Randy Hunt (4gator) Replica 2TV-1 patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Randy Hunt (4gator)
Distribution: Was available commercially.
Dimensions: Body 3" / 75mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge.
Scarcity: Uncommon.
Value: An example sold recently for $32.59[4]
Notes: A replica patch produced by Randy Hunt. It can be recognized by the blue merrowed edge, the fully embroidered background, and the shape of the back foot of the Roadrunner, which indicates that this patch was most likely based on the Don Simpson replica rather than an example of the original crew patch.
The SMEAT Project

The Skylab Medical Experiments Altitude Test (SMEAT) ran from July to September 1972 to assess the impact of the Skylab environment and scheduled activities on the crew. The 56 day simulation was conducted in a hypobaric chamber.

The SMEAT crew members wore beta cloth patches on their flight suits during the test, as shown in the photo on the left. However, a few embroidered versions of the insignia were apparently produced at the time and distributed to some of those working on the project.

Embroidered SMEAT patches

Patch id:

SMEAT patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Unknown
Distribution: Unknown
Dimensions: Approx 4" / 101mm
Type: Partially embroidered on white twill. Merrowed edge with tail.
Scarcity: Extremely rare.
Value: Examples have sold for $595 to $714[5]
Notes: During the Skylab Medical Experiments Altitude Test (SMEAT) program the crew wore beta cloth versions of the insignia but it seems that a limited number of embroidered versions were produced and given to some of those working on the tests.

It's important to note that a number of replicas of this rare patch have been produced over the years.

Patch id:

SMEAT patch Randy Hunt replica

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Unknown
Distribution: Unknown
Dimensions: Approx 4" / 101mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge.
Scarcity: Unknown.
Value: Unknown.
Notes: This replica of the SMEAT patch was produced by Randy Hunt (4gator). It includes UFC copyright text that was not present on the original embroidered patches. This is presumably because the artwork was copied from a vintage decal rather than from a vintage patch.
The LLTV Project

The Lunar Landing Research Vehicles (LLRV) and Lunar Landing Training Vehicles (LLTV) were developed by Bell Aerosystems in order to replicate the flying characteristics of a Lunar Module in lunar descent mode for astronaut training at the MSC in Houston, Texas. A total of three LLTVs were delivered to NASA between 1966 and 1967.

It seems that a commemorative embroidered patch for the LLTV project was produced at around this time.

An example is shown in the picture on the right, on the flight jacket of LLTV training pilot Jere Cobb [photo courtesy of Robert Yowell].

Embroidered LLTV Patches

Patch id:

LLTV Commemorative Patch

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Unknown
Distribution: Unknown
Dimensions: Approx 4" / 102mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge with 'tail'
Scarcity: Extremely rare
Value: Unknown
Notes: This commemorative patch is very rare. The only example seen in recent years was apparently flown on the Apollo 12 mission so it's value was not representative of the base value of the patch[6].
Patch id:

LLTV Patch replica

Worn by crew? No.
Flown? No.
Manufacturer: Randy Hunt
Distribution: Unknown
Dimensions: 3½" / 89mm
Type: Fully embroidered. Merrowed edge with 'tail'
Scarcity: Unknown
Value: Unknown
Notes: This is a replica patch produced by Randy Hunt (4gator) in the 1990s or 2000s. The modern fill stitch style in the background is a giveaway of its age.
Footnotes

[1] Examples of LTA-8 original patch sales:
      Goldberg July 2011 Space Auction lot no. 1323 Jul 10, 2011 sold at $1180 [with 2TV-1 patch]

[2] Examples of older LTA-8 replica patch sales:
      eBay item no. 170728834932 sold Nov 20, 2011 at $31.39 [Randy Hunt replica]

[3] Examples of 2TV-1 Patch sales:
      eBay item no. 110555784120 sold Jul 12, 2010 at $510 (with presentation certificate)
      Goldberg July 2011 Space Auction lot no. 1323 Jul 10, 2011 sold at $1180 [with LTA-8 patch]

[4] Examples of older 2TV-1 replica patch sales:
      eBay item no. 290673312220 sold Feb 26, 2012 at $32.59 [Randy Hunt replica]

[5] Examples of SMEAT patch sales:
      Lunar Legacies auction lot no. 366A sold Aug 16, 2014 at $714
      Lunar Legacies auction lot no. 483 sold Mar 11, 2017 at $595 [from Bobko]

[6] Examples of LLTV Patch sales:
      Aurora space auction lot no. 243 May 31, 2003 sold at $? [Signed by Dave Scott]
      Goldberg Fall 2009 Space Auction lot no. 615 Nov 7, 2009 sold at $3300 [FLOWN on Apollo 12]
      Goldberg July 2011 Space Auction lot no. 1223 Jul 10, 2011 sold at $810 [FLOWN on Apollo 12]
      eBay item no. 280732101429 Sep 6, 2011 sold at $50 [Replica version]
      eBay item no. 122228959718 Nov 17, 2016 sold at $210 [best offer accepted]
      eBay item no. 262911510273 Mar 27, 2017 sold at $325 [buy-it-now]

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