When we got the patch together ... we were the first [crew] to
take the science aspect of the flight seriously. ... The idea of
that patch was essentially mine. I didn’t draw it; I drew the other
three patches (Gemini 7, Gemini 12 and Apollo 8). I said we wanted
to do something with Apollo. I started out the design of this patch
with the idea of the mythical god, Apollo, driving his chariot across
the sky and dragging the sun with it. We eventually gave this idea
to an artist in New York City named Lumen
Winter, and he eventually came up with the three horse design
which symbolized the Apollo but also included the Earth and the
Moon. The funny thing is that Winter, prior to making the patch
for us, made a large wall mural of horses
crossing the sky with the Earth below which is prominently displayed
at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City. The horses are very similar
to the ones on our patch, except that it had a fourth horse falling
back and that, ironically, could have been Ken Mattingly who was
replaced before our flight. That mural is now in New Jersey someplace.
Anyway, we said, ‘Why put names on it?’ We decided to eliminate
the names and instead put in the Latin ‘Ex Luna,
Scientia’ or ‘From the Moon, Knowledge.’ I
plagiarized this somewhat because it is similar to the Naval Academy
‘Ex trident, scientia’ which is ‘From
the sea, knowledge.’
—Jim Lovell, from an interview with Glen Swanson published in
the Spring 1995 issue of Quest, The History of Spaceflight Magazine.
It is an interesting coincidence that, aside from Apollo 11, this
was the only flight of the Apollo series (including Skylab and ASTP)
that did not include the names of the crewmembers on the patch —
and that this was the only flight to have a change in crew. I imagine
that later crews didn’t want to tempt fate by omitting their names!
The story of this patch has an epilogue: when the St. Regis Hotel
was refurbished, Winter’s 20×8 foot mural was removed. Its location
was unknown for several years before appearing at an auction of
space artifacts in Los Angeles. It was purchased by Tom Hanks, who
portrayed Lovell in the movie Apollo 13. Hanks then gifted
the mural to Lovell, and when Lovell’s son opened a restaurant,
Lovell’s of Lake Forest, near Chicago in 1999, the mural
was given prominent placement in the establishment. The restaurant has
now closed, and Lovell has donated the mural to the Capt. James A.
Lovell Federal Health Center in North Chicago.
NASA photo S69-60662
Beta cloth version of the Apollo 13 patch. The varying sizes
of beta cloth patches seems to have settled down around
Apollo 13. Subsequent patches (with the exception of the
smaller SMEAT patch) varied only slightly (1-2mm) from the
standard set by this patch.
This embroidered patch is an extraordinarily faithful rendering.
The source of this patch claimed that it was 1970’s vintage,
a claim that is supported by the original packaging it was
in, with a price of $1. AB Emblem was the manufacturer
of this patch as well as the one on the right. The “ribbing”
effect visible in the sun marks this as the version worn
by the crew.
91mm w × 92mm h
A variant AB Emblem embroidered Apollo 13 patch. While this
is a lovely rendering, the horses are of different colors,
rather than all the same, as in the artwork. Both AB and
Lion Bros patches have a silver rim, rather than orange
as in the design.
Lion Brothers embroidered Apollo 13 patch. This rendition
follows the original artwork less faithfully than the first
AB Emblem patch (above), but more faithfully than the second
AB Emblem patch (above right): the color of the three horses
are all the same (albeit too dark), and the lunar surface
shows craters. Also, the stitching of the blue contrail
is more precise.
The hallmark — the number “13” stitched
into a horses mane — that appears on the Lion Brothers
An extremely faithful embroidered design. For my taste, the
yellow is missing some significant red — it should be closer
to orange — like the patch to the right. There is variant
[ap13-em5] that is identical on the front, but has a black
Yet another recent remake. It’s hard to imagine any embroidered patch
that would be more faithful to the artwork than this.
This beautifully rendered vintage version is similar to [ap13-em1]
but differs in significant respects, mainly in the rendering
of the horses; but note also the halo around the earth and
the lack of black craters on the moon. Thanks to Ron Goode
for this image.
The MSC artist who produced the final artwork for the
Apollo 13 patch, Norman Tiller, secreted his initials on the left foreleg
of the rightmost horse — a detail too small to make it into any of
the embroidered versions of the patch. It did, however, make it into the
beta-cloth version — though barely legible.
The 1969 mural by Lumen Winter which inspired the design of
the Apollo 13 patch. Originally hung in the St. Regis Hotel, the mural
now hangs in the Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in
North Chicago, Ill.
A painting after the original mural, done by Winter in 1981. Signed,
numbered prints have been made of this painting, and are now in the
hands of many collectors.
NASA photo S69-62224
Beginning with Apollo 13 it became customary to include
the crew patch as part of the official crew portrait. This
custom continued through Apollo 17. This portrait shows
the original crew, prior to the last-minute substitution
of John Swigert for Ken Mattingly.