Closeup of Kuiper with a paintbrush in his mouth.

Mercury-Atlas 8

Zoomed out shot shows Kuiper with a painting of the mission logo, "Sigma 7."

My pet giraffe makes art. Medium: dollar store paint on construction paper.

Don’t worry; Kuiper hasn’t joined any frats or sororities (other than @maryrobinettekowal‘s Lady Astronaut Club, which will get its own post. For now, just know that their parties are OUT OF THIS WORLD. ?)

This is the logo for Mercury Atlas 8, “Sigma 7.” I helped Kuiper freehand (freepaw?) it. ? On October 3, 1962, Wally Schirra’s MA8 launch made him the 3rd American to orbit the Earth. However! Today’s story isn’t about him. It’s about the only woman to ride to the top of a Mercury gantry and work in the “White Room”* (where astronauts board spacecraft.)

Redstone capsule logos were done with stencils and spray paint. John Glenn decided that this was Not Good Enough for America’s first orbital flight. He demanded that his logo be hand painted!

Cece Bibby worked as an artist for a NASA contractor. After meeting with her boss and approving her Friendship 7 logo design, John insisted that the logo’s designer be the one to paint it. Her boss was nonplussed at the idea of a woman doing the job and tried to talk John out of it. John wouldn’t budge, so up the gantry Cece went!

According to Cece, “When I got up to the top of the gantry I encountered the Pad Leader who informed me that women weren’t allowed up there. I was told to leave immediately. I told him he’d have to take it up with John Glenn and I went ahead and did my job.” ?

Cece also played a prank on John thanks to Gus Grissom. She drew a naked lady with the words “It’s just you and me against the world, John Baby.” She had the drawing placed in the capsule’s periscope on launch day (but made sure it would be easy to remove for flight.) The launch was postponed that day, but John thought the drawing was HILARIOUS (Cece’s boss was much less amused.)

On the real launch day, John received a 2nd periscope drawing: a frumpy lady with a mop and a bucket, captioned “You were expecting maybe someone else, John Baby?”

Cece went on to design and paint the logos for Aurora 7 & Sigma 7, and then traveled the world with her spouse and continued to make art.
(* room not actually white til Gemini)

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