Skylab Expedition 1
The Skylab Expedition 1 patch was designed by Frank
Kelly Freas, a well known artist highly regarded in the science
fiction field. He wrote an article describing his experience of
designing the patch, “Skylab Patchwork,”
which was published in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact
Freas specifically optimized his design for this patch to be embroidered,
and it shows. This is perhaps the only patch that looks better in
the embroidered version than it does in the original artwork. He
also created a painting as a companion to the patch, which presents
the image on the patch in a more representational and less abstract
This is Freas’ artwork for the Skylab I patch.
The tips of the ATM solar arrays are hidden behind the OWS
solar arrays, showing that the ATM is oriented correctly,
that is, sunward.
Beta cloth version of the Skylab Expedition 1 patch.
91mm w × 90mm h
Embroidered Skylab expedition 1 patch, AB Emblem version.
This matches the original artwork pretty closely. The values
between each successive hue of the sunburst are distinct.
Note that the tips of the ATM solar arrays are correctly
Embroidered Skylab Expedition 1 patch, Lion Brothers
version. Inexplicably, the OWS has been turned 180° so that the
ATM is facing the viewer instead of the sun. (This isn’t
unique: the patch painted on the door of the astronaut transfer
van had this same error.) The sunburst colors blend more
smoothly in this patch.
The hallmark in the Lion Brothers Skylab
Expedition 1 patch consists of the initials of the crew
— “CKW” — sewn on the periphery above Weitz’
name. The color is actually identical to the background
— I’ve enhanced the lighting here to show the hallmark
This painting by Frank Kelly Freas appeared on the cover
of the June 1973 issue of Analog magazine in which his article
on the creation of the Skylab Expedition 1 patch was published.
It can be clearly seen here that Freas knew the OWS should
be oriented with the ATM and solar panels facing the sun.
Image copyright © 1973 by Frank Kelly Freas.
The Skylab Expedition 1 crew displays their patch
at a press conference.