The B.I.R.D Team Mission Patch

Whole Object Name

The B.I.R.D Team Mission Patch

Collection

Space Oddities

Description

This mission patch was produced by astronaut Don Thomas to mark his eventful STS-70 Space Shuttle Discovery mission.

The mission was postponed after a northern flicker woodpecker damaged the External Tank while it stood on Pad 39B during countdown. The bird pecked over 70 holes in the tank’s foam insulation, which is a critical part of its thermal protection system during launch and re-entry. Northern flicker woodpeckers normally build their nests in the soft wood palm trees so the soft insulation on the outside of the tank seemed the ideal habitat, until it pecked through to the hard-aluminium layer underneath. Once this happened the persistent bird moved to another area and tried again. The damage was too much to repair on the pad so the Shuttle stack had to be returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building and a new launch date was set.

The patch was produced to commemorate the orange ball, made to look like an owl, used to scare away woodpeckers on future missions.

Object number

2018-9
  • image The B.I.R.D Team Mission Patch
  • image The B.I.R.D Team Mission Patch (back signed by Don Thomas)
  • image Northern Flicker Woodpecker - Credit: Mike's Birds
  • image The B.I.R.D Team Mission Patch
  • image The B.I.R.D Team Mission Patch (back signed by Don Thomas)
  • image Northern Flicker Woodpecker - Credit: Mike's Birds

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