|Dr. Joseph Kerwin, Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr., and Paul Weitz, each sporting the mission patch designed by artist Frank Kelly Freas. 1973 NASA photo.|
Who Was Frank Kelly Freas?
|December 1955 cover of Astounding Science Fiction. Artwork by Frank Kelly Freas|
|Retrieved from The Vault of Retro Sci-Fi on Tumblr|
But How Did Freas Get Involved With Skylab?
It was [science fiction writer] Ben Bova on the phone: “How would you like to do a shoulder patch for the first Skylab crew?”While I obviously won’t just cut and paste the entire story here (you’ll have to click on the link, and read the entire thing for yourself), Kerwin did discuss the mission’s objectives with Freas, in part to inspire the design; Kerwin underscored that “[t]he kinds of ideas we've been tossing around have emphasized that it's a peaceful mission; that in addition to doing pure science a la Apollo, we're doing work that will directly benefit Mother Earth and its citizens; and that, in a very real sense, we are doing more than just exploring near-Earth space...we're homesteading it, preparing to live and work up there.” Kerwin also emphasized the three main areas of study the crews would partake in, including solar physics studies, medical experiments, and Earth observations.
“Love it.”"Well, I gave them your address and phone number...if you don't get word from them in a couple of days, call Commander Kerwin at this number...”Forty-seven hours and fifty-nine minutes later, I was on the phone to Houston: “About that shoulder patch...”
|The finished article. NASA image, retrieved from Gene Dorr's website|
Main source and recommended reading: