Designing The Apollo 11 Patch
© collectSPACE.com It’s been 50 years since Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, embarked in one of humanity’s biggest adventures: the moon landing of Apollo 11. But before being launched into space and change human history forever, the crew of the Apollo 11 was given a graphic design task: …
It’s been 50 years since Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, embarked in one of humanity’s biggest adventures: the moon landing of Apollo 11. But before being launched into space and change human history forever, the crew of the Apollo 11 was given a graphic design task: to design the patch for the its mission.
It had been tradition for NASA missions to have their patches designed by their crew, so Neil, Buzz, and Michael jumped right into it. The first decision they made was to break away from tradition and not bare their last names in it. They felt that putting their names on it would take credit away from hundreds of people that were as important for the missions as they were or even more. Neil suggested that instead of identifying the mission as Apollo XI or even “eleven” it needed to be 11 so it could translate easily to other languages.
From there, Michael took the task of sketching a badge for their mission. He thought of the eagle as a symbol of the U.S.A. landing of the moon for the first time, he found a picture of a bald eagle in a National Geographic magazine and traced it from there. The crew was not entirely satisfied with the first sketch since they felt it looked aggressive and didn’t translate the mission’s objective correctly, so Tom Wilson, a computer expert, suggested they added an olive branch, and so they did. The olive branch was originally placed on the beak of the Eagle however it was changed to the claws to tone down the menacing position of the eagle’s claws.
The badge has a mistake that was never corrected. The patch shows the Earth to be shadowed on the left side, while the Earth, if viewed from the lunar surface, would be dark on the bottom. However the design by Neil, Buzz, and Michael would come to be known worldwide and has passed as one of the most important symbols of the moon landing.
Images © NASA