Each resident International Space Station crew has their own crew patch. The patch adorns the crew's clothing, spacesuits and other crew items.
The patch designs are often full of symbolic references. So too are the patches designed for Expedition 20 and 21 - the two ISS crews that Frank De Winne will be a part of during his six-month mission.
The Expedition 20 and 21 patches are shown below, together with an explanation of their design.
ISS Expedition 20 crew patch
The ISS Expedition 20 crew patch symbolizes a new era in space exploration with the first six-person crew living and working on the ISS and represents the significance of the ISS to the exploration goals of NASA and its international partners.
The six gold stars signify the men and women of the crew. The astronaut symbol extends from the base of the patch to the star at the top to represent the international team, both on the ground and on orbit, that are working together to further our knowledge of living and working in space.
The space station in the foreground represents where we are now and the important role it is playing towards meeting our exploration goals. The knowledge and expertise developed from these advancements will enable us to once again leave low earth orbit for the new challenges of establishing a permanent presence on the moon and then on to Mars.
The blue, gray and red arcs represent our exploration goals as symbols of Earth, the Moon and Mars.
ISS Expedition 21 crew patch
The central element of the ISS Expedition 21 crew patch is inspired by a fractal of six, symbolizing the teamwork of the six-person crew. From the basic element of one person, together six people form a much more complex and multifaceted entity, toward the infinity of the universe.
The patch shows children, on Earth in the bright Sun, as our future and the reason we explore. The Soyuz and Shuttle are the vehicles that enable human space exploration today, while the International Space Station is leading to our next goals, the moon and Mars.
The patch shape has six tips, geometrically sound yet reminiscent of a leaf, representing symmetry and ecological harmony, while the six stars in deep space represent the current crew and future exploration crews.
Soyuz TMA-15 crew patch
Above is the crew patch that will be worn by Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, ESA astronaut Frank De Winne and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Robert Thirsk for their flight to the International Space Station with the Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft.
An angel, painted by Yura Menkevich (aged 15) of the Kemerovo region in West Siberia, Russia, was chosen as the central element for the Soyuz TMA-15 patch.
Last update: 4 May 2009