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  Skylab crews '2, 3 and 4' original patch designs

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Author Topic:   Skylab crews '2, 3 and 4' original patch designs
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29115
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-06-2014 04:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bill Pogue's recent passing reminded me of the essay that he wrote about mission numbering, in which he noted:
...we had designed our mission patches incorporating the official numeric designations Skylab 2, 3, and 4.

...we dug out our original designs (for 2, 3 and 4) and were in the process of getting the artwork done when informed by Headquarters "not to bother". We could use the designs for 1, 2 and 3.

So I am curious: has anyone had any discussions with the Skylab crew members about what they remember of these "original designs" and whether they were the same as the final artwork but with different numbers?

KSCartist
Member

Posts: 2587
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 03-06-2014 04:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the magazine article that began my journey to design a crew patch, Frank Kelly Freas writes in detail about working with Joe Kerwin on the Skylab I patch.

I asked Jerry Carr, Jack Lousma and Paul Weitz about this at an autograph show a few years ago. They all blamed Gibson who was the patch guy for the mission. The launches were always numbered 1, 2, 3, 4. The expeditions were to be Roman Numerals: I, II, III. It worked great on the first two expeditions and then Gibson puts a big Arabic 3 on the patch. Internally the missions were designated I/2. II/3. III/4. One half, two thirds and three fourths.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29115
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-06-2014 05:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pogue told it this way:
When the Skylab space station crews were announced in 1971, the astronauts assigned set about designing their mission insignia, or "patch", as it was usually called. The missions were officially designated as:
  • Skylab 1: for the unmanned launch of the Skylab space station on a giant Saturn V, and,
  • Skylab 2, 3 and 4 for the manned visits, which were lofted to space by Saturn 1B rockets.
That seemed simple enough, but mischief was not long in coming. We began receiving flight procedures documents (checklists and other training materials) labeled SLM-1, SLM-2 and SLM-3 (Skylab manned 1, 2 and 3). Other documents were labeled SL-2, SL-3 and SL-4, conforming to the official mission designations.

It became a confusing mess because we began receiving mail and other documents clearly meant for one of the other crews and the people in the Astronaut Office mailroom became as bewildered, confused and uncertain as the rest of us.

In the meantime we had designed our mission patches incorporating the official numeric designations Skylab 2, 3, and 4. During a visit by the Director of the Skylab Program, Skylab 2 commander Pete Conrad asked him, "Are we 1, 2 and 3 or are we 2, 3 and 4"?

He replied, "you are 1, 2 and 3".

All of us went back to work and designed new patches to incorporate the numerals 1, 2 and 3. Skylab 1 and 2 used Roman numerals and Jerry Carr, Ed Gibson and I used the Arabic numeral 3. The designs were rendered by artists and sent to Headquarters for approval. The whole process took several months, and the artwork didn't arrive in Washington until about six months before the planned launch of the Skylab.

The Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight took one look at the artwork and disapproved the design because he said the official flight designations, "2, 3 and 4" were to be used.

Thus informed, we dug out our original designs (for 2, 3 and 4) and were in the process of getting the artwork done when informed by Headquarters "not to bother". We could use the designs for 1, 2 and 3. Then we found out why.

The people who had manufactured the Skylab flight clothing (to be worn onboard) had already completed their work several weeks earlier in order to get the clothes packaged and shipped to the Cape to meet their deadline (for stowage onboard Skylab, which was already in pre- launch processing). Furthermore, they had already used the designs submitted earlier for the mission patches. They didn't have time to wait for official approval. The designs using the numeric designation 1, 2 and 3 became approved by default because items with these patches were already stowed in the Skylab lockers at the Cape. Removing them for patch change-out was considered too expensive and disruptive of launch preparations.

So, although officially designated as Skylab 2, 3 and 4, the mission insignias bear the numeric designations as follows: Skylab 2 (Roman numeral I), Skylab 3 (Roman numeral II) and Skylab 4 (Arabic numeral 3).

When traveling in Afghanistan in 1975, I presented some VIPs with our Skylab 4 patch. One lady looked thoroughly confused and asked about the numeral 3 on the Skylab 4 patch. I gave her this long-winded explanation and, by the time I finished, they were roaring with laughter.

This has to be the most exasperating bit of space trivia ever. It's especially confusing to autograph collectors who still scratch their heads trying to sort out their trophies.

Ronpur
Member

Posts: 433
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 03-06-2014 09:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, they could have done this......

Just ignore the big "3"!

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 2385
From: Toms River, NJ,USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 03-06-2014 10:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You know, I thought I saw on cS a Skylab Expedition III/SL-4 design using the Arabic number 4...

hoorenz
Member

Posts: 805
From: The Netherlands
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 03-07-2014 12:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hoorenz   Click Here to Email hoorenz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jacques asked Pogue about the Skylab 3/4 patch in June 2003. I remember Jacques received back an envelope filled with original materials, on the condition that he return it to him (which of Jacques did - I found it extraordinary that Pogue just did this). This was the answer that came with it:
I did a design that incorporated an arabic "4" first probably in mid to late 1972 but I shelved it when Bill Schneider told us we were 1, 2, and 3. That's when I drew up one incorporating an arabic "3". When Dale Myers disapproved the design because of the official designation (2, 3, 4) I pulled out the original design and it was handed over to an artist to render a design to forward to headquarters NASA. But the artwork was never finished. We were told that we could use the first ones submitted. I don't know where the one with the "4" in it is right now but I ran across it a year or so ago so it is here in my house somewhere.

jvertrees
Member

Posts: 99
From: Crestwood, MO
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 03-11-2014 10:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jvertrees   Click Here to Email jvertrees     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Col. Pogue was always excellent about sharing information he had. It doesn't surprise me a bit that he sent out original information on a "loan" so someone could get more information from original source material. He was always interested in preserving the history. Here is a link to a fuller version he has on the numbering in his website. It is also repeated in his Q&A book as well as his autobiography.

His website is still up. I'm sure pricing and product info are not current. It even still has his last Arkansas address and he moved to Cocoa Beach almost three years ago.

The longer version on Bill's website (same as what Robert Posted above)with some additional information above goes a long way toward cracking the numbering code. Even with both there are still questions and a couple of holes to plug.

All times are CT (US)

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