Soyuz TMA-13 "Ladies"

On the left: The Patch produced by Richard Garriott and a patch like this one was flow to ISS.
On the Right: The second rejected proof version of the patch, made in Europe by


Wives Patch, Generation II

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 On the wives' patch, this figure had been replaced by a "universal woman".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.

The original Skylab-2 wives patch, which was the inspiration for this patch.

The story of the TMA-13 Ladies Patch: "This can be fun!"

At the end of February 2008, Ardis Shanks shared the first pictures of Richard Garriott, wearing the Skylab II Wives patch during his first Soyuz training, with Jacques van Oene by e-mail. A nice gesture, since it was the same Wives Patch that had connected Ardis and Jacques a couple of years earlier.

Back then, Ardis had provided Jacques with some details and pictures about the Skylab Wives Patch, enabling him to create a page about Ardis and the patch for his website ''.

Some six months later, in July 2008, they started brainstorming about a "wives" patch for Richard's mission. Ardis in an e-mail to Jacques: "Do you think we need a wives patch for this mission? I dont even know if Richard has a wife".

The reply from Jacques to Ardis: "It sounds great to create a wives patch for this mission...The Soyuz commander Yuri Lonchakov has a wife. He is married to Lonchakova (Dolmatova) Tatiana Alexeevna. (I think Tatiana is her fisrt name) Mike Fincke the US astronaut aboard Soyuz TMA-13 is Married to Renita Saikia....I can not find anything on Richards I do not know if he is married....."

We found out on the internet that Richard has a girlfriend named Kelly, so with that info we could no longer call it a wives patch, but from now on it would be a ladies patch. The next day came the first idea from Ardis: "Well I was thinking the same lady..the same size..but reversed...I thought the Russian flag as the back ground".

Jacques suggested to use two flags: I like the Idea...the girl on the Skylab patch you used, mirror that..and as an back we can use both the American flag and the Russian flag....and then only put the word Soyuz / ISS 2008 on it...that way both crews can use it...

Ardis: "I like the idea of both flags.."

Jacques talked to Jorge Cartes from Spain about the idea, Jorge being an artist (who helped design the STS-126 crew patch) made the first drawing and that was shown to Ardis later in the day. (see image below)

Ardis: "you are on the right track !!, this can be fun. I see both flags done as if they are hanging from a flag pole the way you have it just now it is just so many up and down lines that it detracts too much attention from the "lady" and the back ground on the origional is "softer"... you know how a flag hangs on a flag pole, I was thinking about that sort of shapes and we need at least one star to show on the american flag..and both flags a little muted so the girl stands out"...

A second drawing was sent to Ardis, (see image below)

Ardis: "THE LADIES PATCH WITH THE FLAGS IS EXAXTLY THE WAY I WANTED IT, from the moment I descided it had to be flags....lets do it like that !! it is super..."

Jacques talked to Jorge to make some improvements to the design: "Hello Jorge, great work !! I do not know if I told you this or not, if not it is my mistake...but we want 6 stars in the US flag (1 for each girl, or crewmember). And the Russian flag, it is now like the sun, from the initial design, can you make it round, just like the US side (so no sun style...) Sorry if I messed up your design, but then you know what I mean...LOL"

The final corrected design went to Ardis and her reaction was: " is fine, really the patch is fine and I am happy with it. I think that you are as well". Of course Jacques was happy with it... this was a dream project.

Jacques and Jorge also prepared a Russian version.

On August 8, 2008, the design was ready for production. Jacques, who is a printer by profession, started preparations to print stickers of the design. Also, Jacques sent the design to a patch company, so they could start their production. The proof patch had some mistakes in it, so Jacques requested a second version. He told the patch company what to correct (see below).

The second proof version (shown at the top of this page) needed some more corrections - notably the hands of the lady. Ardis, however, had no confidence that the European patch company would succeed in this, so she decided it should be produced in the United States. Also, it turned out that Ardis and Jacques disagreed about a certain detail in the artwork: the way Ardis name should be presented. This affected Jacques' stickers as well, which unfortunately had already been finished by that time.

The patch onboard ISS.

We received a nice reaction from Richards mother, Helen Garriott about the desing and patch:

Thank you Jacques, for the fascinating record of the patch designing for the ladies of the TMA 13 ISS. It came out excellently. Very well done. I am so glad that they also have a patch. Having the one the women/wives of our flight has been such fun.

Many thanks to you and Ardis.

Helen Garriott

Collecting Soyuz TMA-13 "ladies"

The second proof version of the patch (not the version that was flown), produced in Europe in small quantities, still needed some corrections, notably the hands of the lady. Work on this version of the patch was never finished...

Richard Garriott took over the production from "" and the final version of the patch, shown on the top of the page flew to ISS...

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