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A Personal Story

..."Basically, we wanted a simple, but symbolic, patch that covered the international flavor of the flight (US, Russia, France), the Mir rendezvous and the EVA. The commonly-used Shuttle and Mir stack don't show up very well in a sewn patch, so we elected to avoid this representation. Scott originally sketched the patch while flying back from a business trip to Moscow. Jim suggested integrating the colors of the flags into the rays of the astronaut symbol. In place of the globe, Scott had initially placed a logo that was thought to represent Mir---unfortunately this logo turned out to be the Zvezda corporation's logo, which can be seen on the front of the Mir crewmembers' Sokol spacesuits (see the "Mir" logo). Our friend Mark Pestana then suggested the mercator projection of the globe to replace the Zvezda logo, with arching rays to depict the Shuttle and Mir in earth orbit"...

..."Dave Wolf's name will grace our patch in a small band beneath the main patch, similar to the strips formerly used to identify Payload Specialist Astronauts. This was the only way to add his name at this late date"...

From the STS-86 crew homepage

The Artwork

This flight was the seventh shuttle-Mir docking mission, symbolized by seven stars. The international crew includes astronauts from the United States, Russia, and France. The flags of these nations are incorporated in the rays of the astronaut logo. The rays of light streaking across the sky depict the orbital tracks of the two spacecraft as they prepare to dock. During the flight, an American astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut will perform an extravehicular activity (EVA). The mercator projection of Earth illustrates the global cooperative nature of the flight.

The First Design