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Soviet Seal (small)


One of the most famous 'generic' patches that was worn by Soviet cosmonauts, is the Soviet seal. Probably, it was made especially for the Apollo-Soyuz mission. It first shows up in the Soyuz-19 (Apollo-Soyuz) training photography (June 1974), where it is present on the green training suits of Valeri Kubasov and Alexei Leonov. It is even visible in the official crew portrait for that mission.

First on-board use of the smaller seal we have seen, is in the Soyuz-22 photography (September 1976), although it was spotted on one of the suits of Soyuz-18A cosmonaut Lasarev (March 1975) as well in an internet auction.

The Soviet seal has been worn in many different versions. Characteristic for the first version described on this page, is that the golden-yellow border is quite large, with the seal itself quite small. The seal worn on the intravehicular suits during Soyuz-19 were bigger and did not have a border.

A famous 1970's series of photographs (usually available in lithograph form) shows the early Soviet cosmonauts wearing their white Sokol suits, with the early Zvezda-logo, the early Soviet flag and the borderless Soviet seal attached. In reality, the seal was not worn on the Sokol suits until the Interkosmos missions in 1978. Even then, it was only used during training / publicity photographs.

The 1980 Soyuz-T2 mission was the first flight to have a (newer type) of Soviet seal on the Sokol suits during launch. During training, a mixture of the new and the old patch was used, explaining why pictures of the small seal attached to a Sokol suit do exist.

The Real Thing

The first version of the Soviet Seal seen on the training suit of Alexei Leonov (Soyuz-19, June 1974) and worn by Vladimir Aksenov aboard Soyuz-22 (September 1976). Note the newer version of the flag (with square letters "CCCP") which was also introduced during Apollo-Soyuz.

Left: the seal was a typical part of the jackets worn aboard Salyut. Here, in January 1978, Soyuz-26 / Salyut-6 commander Yuri Romanenko is wearing the first version of the patch on his blue / red training jacket. Right: Vladimir Ljachov and Valeri Ryumin are wearing the older seal on their Sokol suits during training for Soyuz-32 in 1979. It was not on their suits during the flight, however.


The patch was probably made by the Zvezda factory and is not commercially available. We do not have it in our collection and no replica's of this particular version have been produced. The picture of the patch was taken from the online auction of a Soyuz-28 (Gubarev, 1978) intravehicular suit.

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