NROL-87

SpaceX launched the National Reconnaissance Office, NRO, national security NROL-87 mission on February 2 . 2022. It was launched by a brand new Falcon 9 Booster, B1071, from the Vandenberg Space Force Base, Space Launch Complex 4E, in California. The booster made a boost back manoeuvre and landed back at Landing Zone 4 to be used again.

There were three mission patches for this launch. The NRO mission patch showing a wild mountain goat standing proud atop a mountain peak remaining watchfully alert. The goat is also said the represent the constellation Aries which may be the name of the constellation of satellites in this series of reconnaissance satellites.

The SpaceX NROL-87 launch patch showing the colours of the United States flag, representing the nationalism of this launch. The white star shows the launch site in California, with the brand new Falcon 9 booster central to the patch. To the right, over Greenland is the lucky SpaceX four leaf clover.

The 30th Space wing at Vandenberg also had a ‘Don’t Fly Angry’ mission launch patch. This patch features a Groundhog wearing a hat and carrying a briefcase denoting the SpaceX NROL-87 launch. The groundhog is shown as the launch was on February 2, Groundhog Day in the United States. If a Groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day and sees its shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den, and winter will go on for six more weeks.

If it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early. The Groundhog Day ceremony is held at Punxsutawney in western Pennsylvania , centering on a semi-mythical groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil . Both the Woodchuck and the Groundhog are the same Marmot, Marmota Monax, which was shown on a stamp issued by the United States in 1987. Interestingly Punxsutawney Phil and the 30th Space Wing`s Groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of winter.

United States Groundhog stamp.

Groundhog first day cover, dated June 13. 1987.

The Soyuz MS-21 Crew Patch

The Soyuz MS-21 will launch on March 18. 2022. The all Russian crew comprised of Oleg Artemyev, Commander, Denis Matveyev, Flight 1 Engineer and Sergey Korsakov, Flight 2 Engineer. The spacecraft was called Kololyov and the mission was called Launch by Baumansky Start.

This is in reflection that all of the crew members are graduates from the Bauman Moscow State Technical University, the Московский государственный технический университет им. Н. Э. Баумана. Their crew patch was also based on the arms of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University.

On July 1. 2005, Russia issued a postage stamp to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the University. The stamp features a painting of the university by A. Kernosov and also featured the coat of arms of the University for which the Soyuz 21 crew patch was based on. Many of the graduates of the Bauman University are world renowned including such notable people as Sergei Korolov, Andrey Tupolov, nikolay Zhukovsky and Pavel Sukhoi.

Stamp sheet for the Bauman University.

The stamp commemorating the 175th anniversary of the Bauman Moscow State university.