Soyuz TMA-13 '6 Ladies' Decal - English Version
Wives Patch, Generation II
Size Approx 4" x 4" Details on the reverse
Back in 1973, the wives of the second crew aboard the American space station Skylab proudly wore their own mission patch. To this date, the Skylab II Wives Patch is one of the most famous "unofficial" space patches.
The main feature of the original Skylab II crew patch was Leonardo da Vinci's universal man. On the wives' patch, this figure had been replaced by a "universal woman". American artist Ardis Shanks painted the main element, a local Houston model called Cheir, in a "da Vinci" pose.
Thirty-five years later, in 2008, Helen Garriott, one of the three wives of Skylab II, informed Ardis that her son Richard Garriott would fly aboard the Russian Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft to the International Space Station. Ardis could not resist designing a special patch for his mission, as she had done for his father's flight.
Ardis kept close to the original artwork. As a subtle difference, she reversed the "universal woman", who is now backdropped by the Russian and American flags instead of the Sun and the Earth that were in the original patch.
The six ladies' names on the patch are Tatiana (Lonchakov), Kelly (Garriott) and Renita (Fincke) - the Soyuz crew - on the left, and Natalia (Volkov), Chantal (Chamitoff) and Tatiana (Kononenko) - the current ISS-17 crew - on the right. Six stars in the American flag also symbolize these couples.
This design was a collaborative effort between American artist Ardis Shanks, Jacques van Oene of the Netherlands and Jorge Cartes from Spain.