Button, PAM: World's First Commercial Launch Vehicle
This button marking the launch of the Payload Assist Module (PAM) in 1982 was owned by John Bickers, a Public Affairs representative for the McDonnell Company (later McDonnell Douglas), an aerospace company that held contracts with NASA throughout Project Mercury, the Gemini program, the Apollo program, and the Space Shuttle program. McDonnell Douglas designed the Payload Assist Module (PAM) as a spinning, solid propellant, upper stage system to be used on both Space Shuttle and Delta launches to transfer heavy satellites from low Earth orbit into geosynchronous orbit.
Buttons representing specific projects or programs were examples of one type of space memorabilia often distributed to NASA employees and contractors. Wearing this button would demonstrate one's connection to the program. As a result, this button reminds us of the numerous teams of people who worked to support human spaceflight.
During his tenure with McDonnell, Bickers compiled and edited Press Reference Books for the Gemini Space Missions and supported early Space Shuttle flights.
He donated the button to the National Collection in 2007.
Gift of John Bickers
- Country of Origin
- Chrome Plating
- 3-D (Button): 5.6 × 0.6cm (2 3/16 × 1/4 in.)
- Storage: 12.7 × 12.7 × 3.8cm (5 × 5 × 1 1/2 in.)