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Presented here are "puck" style heatshield presentations for the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab missions that were presented after each mission by NASA to key employees, astronauts, and somewhat less frequently to support personnel or contractors.

For Mercury and Gemini missions two types have been identified based on the style of engraving used, "TYPE A" and "TYPE B". Both types as identified in the tables below were in use starting with presentations in 1961 and up through Gemini VII in 1965. Starting with Gemini VIII in 1966, "TYPE B" is observed to be the only style in use.

For Apollo and Skylab missions only "TYPE B" style engraving was used for the "puck" heatshield presentations. The tradition of encasing complete plugs, instead of smaller sections thereof, began with Apollo 11 and carried through the remainder of the program. All complete plugs seen up to this point from Apollo 7, 8, 9 and 10 have not been encased. For these missions, typically a circular section of heatshield was removed and either fully encased or cut into pie-shaped slices then encased.

Due to the significance of Apollo 11, in addition to aft heatshield plugs, some of the smaller (more finely threaded) heatshield plugs from the forward crew compartment heatshield access panels were also encased and presented. These plugs exsist from other Apollo missions but were in most cases not professionally encased and presented by NASA in the same manner as Apollo 11. The majority of panel plug acrylics are "homemade" and were created by recovery teams or engineers at North American Avation/Rockwell, the supplier of the Command Module.

The size of engraving varied between presentations depending primarily on the size of heatshield sample and the resulting puck diameter. Click image below to enlarge.

SizeAbbreviationCharacter Height
Extra LargeXL6mm
Double Extra LargeXXL7mm

The most distingushing characteristic for these puck presentations is their use of a specalized acrylic material, sometimes referred to by its trade name Lucite. The embedment process required carefully controlled temperature and pressure to produce a perfectly crystal clear presentation without air bubbles and provided resistence to yellowing over time. If made using this process, they will remain as clear as the day they were made.

In contrast, room-temperature hand-poured acrylics, sometimes referred to as "homemade", have a tendency to yellow over time when exposed to ambient temperature extremes and sunlight. Since the acrylic resin is poured in several steps and allowed to set, it is possible for small air bubbles to form around the object and between the layers. When viewed from an angle, it is common to see distinct yet somewhat wavy lines inside the presentation. If the acrylic is not yellowed, the presence of pour lines is the easiest way to determine that it is "homemade".

Based on surviving documentation and a few original boxes, it is known that presentations for Gemini and Apollo mission were created for NASA by Clearfloat using the specalized process described above. Examples of original boxes are shown below alongside their corresponding presentations. It is possible that Clearfloat was involved with the earlier Mercury presentations based on the many similarities presently observed, yet it is not known for certain at this time.

Mission Number Notes
All engraved with Arabic numerals (MA-5 to MA-9).
All reference launch vehicle (MA = Mercury-Atlas).


Mercury-Atlas 4Unmanned None Observed
without mission name
Mercury-Atlas 5Enos (Chimp) None Observed
Mercury-Atlas 6John Glenn
with crew name
Mercury-Atlas 7Scott Carpenter None Observed
with text "HEATSHIELD"

with crew name
Mercury-Atlas 8Wally Schirra None Observed
Mercury-Atlas 9Gordon Cooper   
*Mission date engraved as May 14
instead of actual May 15-16.

*Unique instance where numeral "1"
includes a serif/upstroke.

Mission Number Notes
Early missions engraved in Arabic numerals (GT-2, GT-3, GT-4).
Reference to launch vehicle included (GT = Gemini-Titan).

Later missions engraved in Roman numerals (Gemini V to XII).
Reference to launch vehicle omitted.


Gemini 2Unmanned None Observed
Engraved as "GT-2"
Gemini 3Gus Grisson
John Young
None Observed
Engraved as "GT-3"
Gemini 4Jim McDivitt
Ed White

Engraved as "GT-4"
None Observed
Gemini 5Gordon Cooper
Pete Conrad

Roman numeral "V" with underline
with crew names

Roman numeral "V"

Roman numeral "V" with underline
Gemini 7Jim Lovell
Frank Borman
Roman numeral "VII" with underline
Gemini 6AWally Schirra
Tom Stafford

Roman numeral "VI" with underline

with crew names
Gemini 8Neil Armstrong
David Scott
None Observed
Roman numeral "VIII"

Roman numeral "VIII" with underline
Gemini 9ATom Stafford
Gene Cernan
None Observed

with crew names

with crew names
without black fill in text

Gemini 10John Young
Michael Collins
None Observed
Gemini 11Pete Conrad
Richard Gordon
None Observed
Gemini 12Jim Lovell
Buzz Aldrin
None Observed

Mission Number Notes
Engraved in Arabic numerals (Apollo 8 to 13, 16, 17).
Engraved in Roman numerals (Apollo VIII, X, Skylab II, III, IV).
Reference to launch vehicles omitted.
No TYPE A Observed TYPE B

Apollo 7Schirra
None Observed
Apollo 8Borman

Aft Heatshield Cut Section (Not Plug)
Arabic numeral "8"

Aft Heatshield Cut Section (Not Plug)
Roman numeral "VIII"

Apollo 9McDivitt

Aft Heatshield Cut Section (Not Plug)
Arabic numeral "9"

Apollo 10Stafford

Aft Heatshield Cut Section (Not Plug)
Arabic numeral "10"
with crew names

Aft Heatshield Cut Section (Not Plug)
Roman numeral "X"

Apollo 11Armstrong

Aft Heatshield Full Plug

Forward Heatshield Misc Panel Plug

Forward Heatshield Electrical Panel Plug
Apollo 12Conrad

Aft Heatshield Full Plug

Aft Heatshield Full Plug
Unique font variant

Apollo 13Lovell
Aft Heatshield Full Plug
Apollo 14Shepard
None Observed
Apollo 15Scott
None Observed
Apollo 16Young
Aft Heatshield Full Plug
Apollo 17Cernan

Aft Heatshield Full Plug
Skylab IIConrad

Aft Heatshield Full Plug

Aft Heatshield Full Plug
Skylab IIIBean

Aft Heatshield Full Plug

Aft Heatshield Full Plug
Skylab IVCarr

Aft Heatshield Full Plug

Aft Heatshield Full Plug
Test Project

Aft Heatshield Full Plug

This page last modified: 04/05/2020
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