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Looking back – ISS Crew Patches

Crew patches

Each resident International Space Station crew has their own crew patch. The patch adorns the crew’s clothing, spacesuits and other crew items.

The patch designs are often full of symbolic references. So too are the patches designed for Expedition 20 and 21 – the two ISS crews that Frank De Winne will be a part of during his six-month mission.

The Expedition 20 and 21 patches are shown below, together with an explanation of their design.

ISS Expedition 20 crew patch

The Expedition 20 patch
ISS Expedition 20 crew patch

The ISS Expedition 20 crew patch symbolizes a new era in space exploration with the first six-person crew living and working on the ISS and represents the significance of the ISS to the exploration goals of NASA and its international partners.

The six gold stars signify the men and women of the crew. The astronaut symbol extends from the base of the patch to the star at the top to represent the international team, both on the ground and on orbit, that are working together to further our knowledge of living and working in space.

The space station in the foreground represents where we are now and the important role it is playing towards meeting our exploration goals. The knowledge and expertise developed from these advancements will enable us to once again leave low earth orbit for the new challenges of establishing a permanent presence on the moon and then on to Mars.


The blue, gray and red arcs represent our exploration goals as symbols of Earth, the Moon and Mars.

ISS Expedition 21 crew patch

ISS Expedition 21 crew patch
ISS Expedition 21 crew patch

The central element of the ISS Expedition 21 crew patch is inspired by a fractal of six, symbolizing the teamwork of the six-person crew. From the basic element of one person, together six people form a much more complex and multifaceted entity, toward the infinity of the universe.

The patch shows children, on Earth in the bright Sun, as our future and the reason we explore. The Soyuz and Shuttle are the vehicles that enable human space exploration today, while the International Space Station is leading to our next goals, the moon and Mars.

The patch shape has six tips, geometrically sound yet reminiscent of a leaf, representing symmetry and ecological harmony, while the six stars in deep space represent the current crew and future exploration crews.

Soyuz TMA-15 crew patch

Soyuz TMA-15 crew patch
Soyuz TMA-15 crew patch

Above is the crew patch that was worn by Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, ESA astronaut Frank De Winne and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Robert Thirsk for their flight to the International Space Station with the Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft.

An angel, painted by Yura Menkevich (aged 15) of the Kemerovo region in West Siberia, Russia, was chosen as the central element for the Soyuz TMA-15 patch.


August 28, 2012 Posted by | international space station, ISS, NASA, Russian Spaceflight, Space Patches | , , , | Leave a comment

The Missing ISS Expedition 33 Patch

We have featured all of the most recent ISS Expedition patches with the exception of this new patch for Expedition 33.


Expedition 33 begins with the Soyuz TMA-04M undocking in September 2012. Three new crew members will arrive shortly thereafter on Soyuz TMA-06M.

Soyuz TMA-05M
Crew: Sunita Williams, Yuri Malenchenko, Akihiko Hoshide
Launch: May 2012
Landing: November 2012

Soyuz TMA-06M
Crew: Kevin Ford, Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin
Launch: October 2012
Landing: March 2013

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November 24, 2011 Posted by | ESA, international space station, ISS, NASA, Russian Spaceflight | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

International Space Station Expedition 30

International Space Station Expedition 30 Embroidered Patch Design

The International Space Station (ISS) program is completing the transition from assembly to full utilization as humankind celebrates the golden anniversary of human space exploration. In recognition of these milestones and especially of the contribution of those whose dedication and ingenuity make spaceflight possible, a fully assembled ISS is depicted rising above a sunlit Earth limb. Eastward of the sunlit limb, the distinctive portrayal of Earth’s surface illuminated by nighttime city lights is a reminder of mankind’s presence on the planet, most readily apparent from space only by night, and commemorates how human beings have transcended their early bonds throughout the previous 50 years of space exploration. The ISS, a unique space-based outpost for research in biological, physical, space and Earth sciences, in the words of the crew members, is an impressive testament to the tremendous teamwork of the engineers, scientists and technicians from 15 countries and five national space agencies.

The six crew members of Expedition 30, like those who have gone before them, express that they are honored to represent their countries and the ISS team in conducting research aboard the station and adding to the body of knowledge that will enable the world’s space faring countries to more safely and more productively live, work and explore outer space, paving the way for future missions beyond low Earth orbit, and inspiring young people to join in this great adventure.

Photo credit: NASA

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May 1, 2011 Posted by | Space Patches | , , , | Leave a comment