Gerald P. Carr
William R. Pogue
Edward G. Gibson

16 November 1973 - 8 February 1974

Barbara Matelski

Skylab Expedition 3

"The three of us dreamed up the concept, Bill Pogue put together the description, and Barbara Matelski from the Johnson Space Center Graphics Department did the artwork. We gave our concept to several artists, but none of them came up with a design that delivered the message, so we rough sketched our idea, and Barbara put it together."

--Jerry Carr, from All We Did Was Fly to the Moon

"The symbols in the patch refer to the three major areas of investigation in the mission. The tree represents man's natural environment and refers to the objective of advancing the study of earth resources. The hydrogen atom, as the basic building block of the universe, represents man's exploration of the physical world, his application of knowledge, and his development of technology. Since the sun is composed primarily of hydrogen, the hydrogen symbol also refers to the Solar Physics mission objectives.

"The human silhouette represents mankind and the human capacity to direct technology with a wisdom tempered by his regard for his natural environment. It also relates to the Skylab medical studies of man himself.

"The rainbow, adopted from the Biblical story of the Flood, symbolizes the promise that is offered to man. It embraces man and extends to the tree and hydrogen atom, emphasizing man's pivotal role in the conciliation of technology with nature by a humanistic application of our scientific knowledge."

--From the Skylab Expedition 3 astronauts' calling card

Whew! A lot of subtle symbolism there! The artwork is very nicely put together, and Matelski obviously takes into account the limitations of the silk screen process used to fabricate the beta cloth patches. Matelski also did the artwork for the Apollo 16 patch.

There is a variation of this patch that has a yellow comet in the blue background around the top of the "3," which represents the observations of Comet Kohoutek. I've only seen this on some embroidered patches, and don't know if any "official" patches ever had this addition.

NASA photo Beta cloth patch

NASA photo ID: S72-53094
Taken: 1 Feb 1973

Beta cloth version of the Skylab Expedition 3 patch.
85mm w × 89mm h

Embroidered patch

Embroidered patch

Embroidered version (AB Emblem) of the Skylab Expedition 3 patch.
104mm w × 106mm h

A variant embroidered Skylab Expedition 3 patch. This is clearly manufactured by neither AB Emblem nor Lion Brothers, as it lacks their crispness of definition.
99mm w × 102mm h

Embroidered patch with comet Embroidered patch with comet

The Lion Brothers Skylab Expedition 3 patch has a comet added to the corner, symbolizing the study of Comet Kohoutek.
106mm w × 103mm h

The hallmark on the Lion Brothers patch -- the initials "GCP" -- is incorporated into the foliage of the tree (shown here rotated 90°).

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