skylab-1 patch

May 25 - June 22, 1973

Crew & Mission

These three astronauts were named as the prime crew of the first manned Skylab mission. They are, left to right, Joseph P. Kerwin, science pilot; Charles Conrad Jr., commander; and Paul J. Weitz, pilot.

A Personal story...

..."Our patch was executed by science fiction illustrator Kelly Freas. He wrote his story of the design in the June 1973 issue of "Analog". We did not name our vehicles. We figured CSM's were only for up and down, so none were required. Our Skylab cluster was used for 3 crews and we made one half-hearted attempt at unanimity for one name from 9 guys, but no one was over enthusiastic so the effort died"...

Astronaut Paul Weitz in: "All we did was fly to the moon"


The astronauts of Skylab-1 sought me out to design their patch. I got paid to do the job, but frankly I was so flattered to have been suggested as their artist that I would gladly have paid them for the opportunity. The design is entirely my own: I took the unususal positioning of the skylab in the design which happens to coincide with the Nordic runes for "mother," "father," and "family of man." Considering the importance of the mission to the people of earth as a whole, I thought that most fitting. The eclipse of the sun gave it poignency as well as balance of design. There was only one version, and I designed it strictly for machine embroidery, hence no "original" exists -- subsequent to that I had an essay about it in the June 1973 issue of Analog Magazine, and had to paint a cover based on the design.

Thanks to Kelly Freas, December 2001.

This is the emblem for the first manned Skylab mission. It wil be a mission of up to 28 days. The patch, designed by artist Kelly Freas, shows the Skylab silhouetted against the earth's globe, which in turn is eclipsing the Sun - showing the brilliant signet-ring pattern of the instant before total eclipse. Officially the Skylab manned missions are still listed as Skylab 2, 3 and 4 with Skylab 1 being the initial launch of the Skylab Space Station itself. However, to avoid public confusion the patches for the manned Skylab missions are numbered 1, 2 and 3.