Presented here are two flags, a 5.5 x 4 printed fabric American flag, and an identical size flag of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, carried on board the shuttle Challenger mission 41-B in February of 1984. Both flags are affixed to a 15 x 11 certificate presented to Herbert Friedman by the AIAA, with printed signatures of the association’s president and mission commander Vance Brand at the bottom. Certificate is housed in a similar-size Lucite frame.
Text on certificate notes: “This banner of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics flew 2,836,864 miles in the U.S. Space Challenger Mission 41-B February 3 – February 11, 1984”. It is unclear if the American flag also traveled in space.
Herbert Friedman (June 21, 1916 – September 9, 2000) was an American pioneer in the application of sounding rockets to solar physics, aeronomy, and astronomy. He was also a statesman and public advocate for science. During his lifetime, he was awarded the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, the National Medal of Science, the Henry Norris Russell Lectureship of the American Astronomical Society, the William Bowie Medal of the American Geophysical Union, the Wolf Foundation Prize in Physics, and the Albert A. Michelson Medal of the Franklin Institute (1972), among others. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1960 and of the American Philosophical Society in 1964.