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On December 4, 1998 Shuttle Endeavour, STS-88, launched for the first Space Station Flight. Endeavour and her 6 member crew delivered the Unity Node which provided 6 docking ports to the burgeoning Space Station. This crew was known unofficially as the "Stealth Dog Crew III". Following is some information on how this unofficial designation came about.

In December 1992 NASA flew the last of the Defense Department’s classified shuttle missions, STS-53. The Commander of that mission was Navy Captain David M. Walker, better known through his years of military service as "Red Dog". The pack of flight controllers, astronaut trainers, and astronauts involved in that mission eventually became known as the "Dogs of War", and the first Dog Crew was born.

Dave Walker’s next command was STS-69 and along with payload commander James "Dogface" Voss, also a member of the STS-53 litter, they put together the Dog Crew II. Rounding out the rest of the pack was shuttle pilot Kenneth "Cujo" Cockrell; mission specialist James "Pluto" Newman; and mission specialist Michael "Underdog" Gernhardt.

The STS-69 crew decided that just having a Dog name was not enough, so Ken Havekotte of SpaceCoast Cover Service was contacted to help produce a patch. Ken called me and asked if I would do the design work and a few weeks later the Dog Crew II patch was being walked around NASA on the arms of the astronaut’s flight suits. That was the first time that an unofficial patch had been worn on those suits.

In January 1997, Jim "Pluto" Newman wrote a letter to me and posed the idea of yet another Dog Crew, however because some of the management at NASA thought that the concept detracted from the seriousness and importance of space flight, he thought perhaps we should develop a "stealth" patch......Stealth Dog Crew III.

Stealth Dog Crew III

Their mission was STS-88, a very high profile flight, it was the first assembly mission for the International Space Station. The commander was Robert "Mighty Dog" Cabana, a member of the original STS-53 Dog Crew litter. Joining "Pluto" and "Mighty Dog" was shuttle pilot Rick "Devil Dog" Sturckow; mission specialist Jerry "Hooch" Ross; mission specialist Nancy "Laika" Currie; and the last arrival, cosmonaut Sergei "Spotnik" Krikalev. The idea for the dog tag "Spotnik" came from one of my co-workers, Lia Jordan. I passed the name along to Newman and after Krikalev was confirmed as a member of the crew, I was told to add the name to the patch.

Stealth Dog Crew III in the ISS

The "stealth concept" charged me to develop a patch that would not be obvious to the casual observer, a sort of mysterious, hard to figure out collection of shapes, text, and colors.

Stealth Dog Crew III

The shape of the patch itself is that of a doghouse with a peaked roof. There is a typical doghouse door cutout in the center revealing a stealthy (F117-like) orbiter flying directly at you, upon closer inspection, the orbiter may reveal itself to be a dog’s face. The ISS stack in the payload bay consists of the Russian built "Zarya" control module and the U.S built "Unity" module. The star constellations in the space around the orbiter are Canis Major (the Large Dog) and Canis Minor (the Small Dog). The typography on the patch is Cyrillic, the Russian alphabet, which contributes to the stealth theme. The red letters at the peak of the roof translate to SDC III (Stealth Dog Crew III) while the blue letters that surround the door are the crew’s dog tags. Clockwise from the lower left: Mighty Dog, Devil Dog, Hooch, Laika, Pluto, and Spotnik (at the bottom of the door).

Joel Katzowitz
2570 Chimney Springs Dr. Marietta GA 30062

Many thanks and warmest regards
to Joel for sending the above info.


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