The Space Hipsters Facebook group launched a highly-successful fundraising project for Taking Up Space in early April.
The background of the project begins with the STS-27 Space Shuttle mission of 1988, which came perilously close to disaster after suffering severe damage to its protective heat shield tiles during the launch. After observing the damage on orbit, the commander of the mission – Taking Up Space patron Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson – believed that there was a significant chance that the Shuttle would not survive re-entry. However, he told the crew that they might as well make the most of their remaining time in space as, “there’s no use dying all tensed-up”. Luckily, the Shuttle did make it safely back to the ground, where NASA ground crew were amazed to see the extent of the damage.
For the Taking Up Space fundraiser a special version of the STS-27 mission patch was created incorporating this quote from Hoot Gibson, along with an embroidered version of his signature.
This “Signature Edition” patch was created in three different versions:
• 27 examples with the embroidered signature executed in gold thread
• 100 examples with the embroidered signature executed in silver thread
• an unlimited number with the embroidered signature executed in white thread
The 127 limited edition patches were mounted on numbered display cards hand-signed by Hoot Gibson himself for the fundraiser. The patches were manufactured exclusively for the project by NASA’s official patch supplier A-B Emblem, and were donated to the fundraiser by Chris Spain. Space Hipsters admin Lois Huneycutt, a long-time supporter of Taking Up Space, generously undertook the packaging and mailing of all the sold patches, covering the costs herself as a donation to the cause.
The project was launched on the Space Hipsters Facebook page on April 3, 2022 and was an immediate success. The gold patches sold out in just a few hours and all the silver patches sold within a week, along with a significant number of the regular unlimited patches.
The project as a whole raised in excess of $8,000 for Taking Up Space, and following this success it is hoped that more fundraising “Signature Edition” patches may see the light of day in the future.
Note that the regular patches are still available in exchange for a $12 donation to Taking Up Space.