Saturday, March 28, 2009

Badges? We don' need no [more] steenkin badges!

I enjoy collecting access badges that were issued to people who worked in the early days of the US space program. These simple pieces of paper and plastic granted their bearers access to the inner workings of the launch vehicles, spacecraft, and even to the decisions that made the missions possible.

I began collecting access badges from Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo several years ago. I hit a bonanza this year with the Lunar Legacies auction in March, when I was able to add several missions for which I previously had no access passes. I now have at least one access badge for every manned Gemini and Apollo mission, and for many of the unmanned ones as well. They include passes to the White Room, launch vehicle, Operations Support Room, Flight Readiness Reviews, Launch Readiness Reviews, booster tests, Engineering and Operations Building, Mission Control, and Firing Rooms, as well as press passes, parking passes, vehicle roll-outs, and launch viewing stand passes.

The photo to the left is a collage of all the passes currently in my collection. (Please click the image for a clearer view.) The next challenge is to figure out how best to display them!

I'm also researching the holders of the passes to learn more about them and their work. For example, I have several that were issued to G. Merritt Preston, who was the Branch Chief for all ground facilities at Kennedy Space Center during Gemini and Apollo.