Shuttle Atlantis's Souvenir Load: 22,000 Flags, 10,000 Patches, a Very Small Painting and More
And if the list put together by collectSPACE.com is any indication, this last flight is taking along enough souvenirs to outfit a small army.
Almost all the items are put there by NASA to pass out later to foreign governments, support teams, contractors, politicians, anyone. The items fly in a (very, very tightly packed) duffel bag that stays stowed away the entire flight.
Each astronaut gets to take a small amount of personal items, as well.
What's going up on Atlantis:
6. Flags. Lots of Flags
Almost 22,000 flags, by our count -- U.S. flags, state flags, flags of Russia, Japan, Canada and the other countries that have had shuttle astronauts, lots of flags. Including ones from NASCAR and the Texas Motor Speedway.
5. 200 Snoopy Pins
Snoopy's last shuttle ride
Snoopy has been an astronaut favorite since the Apollo days. The black-and-white head coverings the astronauts wore were called "Snoopy Hats," and the Apollo 10 lunar module was named for him (The command module was Charlie Brown, in the last mission before NASA started exerting more control over what the astronauts could name their vehicles). Tradition requires NASA's prestigious Silver Snoopy award to consist of a space-flown Snoopy pin, and obviously having one from the last shuttle ride would be a nice plus.
4. An 8X5 Printed Recipe
No indication as to what delicious dish is involved, but the item comes from the Astronaut Crew Quarters at the Kennedy Space Center.
3. At least 10, 223 Patches
NASA people love their patches, whether those patches deserve it or, sadly, don't. So there are plenty of patches going up on Atlantis. Most of them are from acronym-heavy subsets of the space program.