The USA 144/Misty-2 launch patch
Following my previous post with an analysis of the brightness variation of the USA 144/Misty-2 decoy (99-028C), one of the readers of this (b)log asked me whether I had any comments on the USA 144/Misty-2 launch patch.
Very little of use is to be gleaned about the mission itself I think, as it is a launch patch rather than a mission patch. Moreover, my guesses are as good as anybodies. I can say this though:
"B-12" is the launch number of this Titan launch. "2 SLS" stands for 2nd Space Launch Squadron. They launched the rocket from Vandenberg AFB. "NRO" of course stands for National Reconnaissance Office, who ordered and operates the payload.
The half illuminated, half in shadow earth globe with the grid and the orbiting satellite, as well as the four stars, are the logo of the 4th Space Launch Squadron. Short before this launch, they were merged with the 2nd Space Launch Squadron.
As for the tiger and the text "The cat's out of the bag!", I have no idea. The text could perhaps refer to the fact that this was the maiden flight of the Titan IV-B in the 404 configuration. Or it could not.
A discussion of the patch by Dwayne Day in The Space Review can be found here.