Charles "Pete" Conrad
Paul J. Weitz
Joseph P. Kerwin

25 May-22 June 1973

Frank Kelly Freas

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 magazine.

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 fashion.

Skylab painting by Frank Kelly Freas
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.

NASA photo Beta cloth patch

NASA photo ID: S72-52630
Taken: 1 Feb 1972
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


AB Emblem patch
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 depicted.
115mm dia

Lion Bros patch Hallmark

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.
102mm dia

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 more clearly.


Skylab 2 Medallion
The Manned Flight Awareness medallion created for Skylab Expedition 1 used Freas' crew patch for the obverse design. The reverse shows the Skylab 2 crew, the Orbital workshop, and around the periphery reads: "Manned Flight Awareness - America's First Earth-Orbiting Skylab."


See the Frank Kelly Freas website for more information on Freas and his work.

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