ESA astronaut Christer Fuglesang (SE) became the first Swedish astronaut when he flew to the International Space Station (ISS) on the Space Shuttle Discovery on 9 December 2006. The other STS-116 crewmembers were: Mark Polansky, William Oefelein, Nicholas Patrick, Robert Curbeam, Joan Higginbotham and Sunita Williams. Williams stayed on the ISS as a member of Expedition 14, and Thomas Reiter returned.
The STS-116 patch design signifies the continuing assembly of the ISS and depicts the Space Shuttle rising above Earth and the Ststion. The US and Swedish flags trail the orbiter, depicting the international crew. The seven stars of the constellation Ursa Major are used to provide direction to the North Star, superimposed over the installation location of the P5 truss on ISS.
Christer explained in 2006: "The STS-116 emblem and logo are now official and are ready for use. We had already developed the patch before the Columbia disaster, but could never made it official. The new crew members found the design with the American and Swedish flag which lift the Shuttle from the ground also very beautiful. On the wings of the Shuttle stands 116 for the flight number (STS-116) and 12A.1 for the flight to the Space Station. Right, the is ISS visible and shows the P5 truss which we will assemble to ISS. And the shining star is in relation to the constellation on the left is also a symbol for Alaska, the homestate of Billy O(efelein).
"It took a long time to get the emblem approved, long were the discussions on which name of ISS crewmember we would use on the patch, this would also dependent on when we would launch. Several people qualified and it became a discussion how we would solve that. Or should we leave the names entirely out? We have eventually decided that the name of the astronauts who would fly with us during the launch on the patch. Now that it is certain that it is Sunni (Williams), we have an official patch. Her surname hangs below the patch, meaning she will not fly back with us at the end of the mission."