The ASTROLAB patch was designd by German space artist Detlev van Ravenswaay.

The principal form in the logo comes from two circles, with the outermost circle split into 24 sections. This portrays the form of an astrolabe. The border of the innermost circle takes its colours from the German flag, highlighting the nationality of ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter.

The destination of the long-duration mission, the International Space Station, is shown as a central symbol in the logo. This is framed by two sets of stars. The three bright stars to the left symbolize the three members of the ISS Expedition 13 crew. The 17 smaller stars in the background represent the ESA Member States.

Below are 3 designs that were rejected by ESA.

After the final design of the ASTROLAB patch was choosen Detlev met Thomas Reiter to present him his design. Above the patch Thomas Reiter wrote "Herzlichen Dank f�r das tolle Design" ["Sincerethanks for a wonderful design"].Below the patch Thomas Reiter's signature.

(Thanks to Harald Kraenzel for some of the information used on this page).

Second type

A second version of the patch has a smaller ESA logo and differences in details of ISS. It is yet unclear whether this ESA-produced was worn on-orbit.

Why Astrolab

Europe's first long-duration mission to the International Space Station has been named Astrolab. The name was chosen in memory of Martin Behaim (1469-1537), a famous German cartographer, mapmaker, navigator and explorer, who is famous for having developed the Astrolabe.

this chief navigation instrument was a great improvment on the primitive quadrant then in use for taking the altitude of the Sun. It was this new Atrolabe that Columbus used in getting his solar altitudes on his way to the new world.

Astrolab also refers to ASTROnauts and to LABoratory. This name suggests that this first long duration mission of a European astronaut on the ISS is describing the navigation path for the utilisation of the Columbus laboratory in future exploration.


ESA patches seen on Thomas Reiter suit.

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