The patch represents the red, white and blue, stars and stripes motif of the United States of America. The flag patch celebrates the Space Shuttle Columbia (OV-102).
The fully embroidered patch measures approx 100 mm x 50 mm (4" x 2")
Shuttle orbiter Columbia (OV-102) was the first Space Shuttle vehicle of NASA’s fleet of reusable winged spaceships to fly in space. Columbia’s first mission, STS-1, launched from Kennedy Space Center’s pad 39A on April 12, 1981.
Tragically on Feb. 1, 2003, Columbia and her sevenmember crew were lost over east Texas on her landing descent to KSC, approximately 16 minutes before landing. She was returning from mission STS-107, a microgravity research mission.
During the months that followed, searchers recovered more than 83,800 pieces of debris, representing approximately 38 percent of Columbia’s dry weight.
During her 24 years of service, Columbia launched on a total of 28 missions, traveled more than 123 million statute miles in space and spent more than 300 cumulative days in space, including her last launch from KSC on mission STS-107, Jan. 16, 2003.
Columbia initiated NASA’s Space Shuttle flight program when it lifted off in the spring of 1981, carrying the two-person crew of John Young and Robert Crippen. Columbia proved the operational concept of a winged, reusable spaceship by successfully completing the Orbital Flight Test Program—missions STS-1 through STS-4.
During her years of service, Columbia achieved an unprecedented list of firsts in NASA’s Space Shuttle flight program, including first reuse (STS-2 on Nov. 12, 1981) of a crew-assisted space vehicle and first operational STS mission (STS-5 on Nov.11, 1982).
Columbia made the first and only Space Shuttle landing at White Sands, N.M., on mission STS-3 (March 22, 1982), carried the first fourmember crew (STS-5) and the first six-member crew (STS-9).
During mission STS-9, launched Nov. 28, 1983, Columbia carried the Spacelab aloft for the first time.
Mission STS-61C, launched Jan. 12, 1986, was the first flight of Columbia after its first Orbiter Maintenance Down Period (OMDP) in Palmdale,Calif. (1984-85).
Columbia underwent two subsequent scheduled OMDPs in Palmdale (1991-92 and 1994-95).
Columbia again went through an Orbiter Major Modification (OMM) in 1999-2001, in Palmdale.She experienced more than 100 improvements, including the inspection and repair of more than 215 miles of wiring. A new Multifunctional Electronic Display subsystem, or “glass cockpit,” replaced the 32 analog gauges and four cathode ray tube monitors in the old cockpit with 11 stateof- the-art, full-color panel displays.
Mission STS-50, launched June 25, 1992, was Columbia’s first extended duration flight on the U.S. Microgravity Laboratory-1 mission. The mission was 13 days, 19 hours and 30 minutes long. Columbia flew 12 of the Space Program’s 13 longest duration Shuttle missions. The record to date, held by Columbia, on Mission STS-80, is 17 days, 15 hours and 53 minutes, launched Nov. 19, 1996.
Columbia also earned the distinction of being the first orbiter commanded by the first female astronaut (Eileen Collins) on mission STS-93, launched July 23, 1999.
The orbiter Columbia was named after the Boston-based sloop captained by American Robert Gray. On May 11, 1792, Gray and his crew maneuvered the Columbia past the dangerous sandbar at the mouth of a river extending more than 1,000 miles through what is today southeastern British Columbia, Canada, and the Washington- Oregon border.
Other sailing ships have further enhanced the luster of the name Columbia. The first U.S. Navy ship to circle the globe bore that title, as did the command module for Apollo 11, the first lunar landing mission.