November 2006 I had the opportunity to visit
German space artist Detlev van Ravenswaay (his
living some Kilometers away from me.
was a very impressive visit with Detlev when he shows me his drawings
and paintings and of course some items of his space collection.
I knew that Detlev designed the following two patches for the D-1
But I was surprised to hear
that he designed the ASTROLAB patch for Thomas Reiters mission on board
the ISS which will last until December this year.
first saw an ASTROLAB patch on eBay when 4gator sold a version which he
Some time later 4gator offered a
different patch which was larger than the first one and
very similar to
the original ASTROLAB patch:
Detlev told me that he saw
the first 4gator ASTROLAB patch and talked to him.
permission to 4gator to take the original design and sent him a scan.
Detlev asked 4gator to make a second ASTROLAB patch but this time as
close as possible to the original design which 4gator successfully did.
during my visit I was very happy when Detlev showed me an original
I asked him whether I can buy one and he agreed. He
told me that this is the second last one and that he only has left one
more which of course he wants to have for himself.
I asked him who made this patch but he does not know that.
Here the original ASTROLAB patch (clothback while the other
two have plastic backs):
Side note concerning the
Detlev told me that the design shows
"17 Stars in the background
representing all the European member states".
only patch that has more than 17 stars is the first 4gator patch.
second 4gator patch and the original ASTROLAB patch have fewer stars.
Here are some more informations concerning Detlev van
(his three designs which 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 für das tolle Design" ["Sincere thanks for a
Below the patch Thomas Reiter's signature.
During training Thomas Reiter is
wearing that ASTROLAB patch:
On board of the ISS Thomas
Reiter wears a shirt where the ASTROLAB patch
can be seen but without
the outer yellow border.
Detlev told me that he believes that Thomas
Reiter's wife just cut of the border
which makes the patch nearly
identical to the design.
The last picture shows Thomas
Reiter saying farewell to STS-121 member Stephanie Wilson. Thomas
Reiter gave a copy of his ASTROLAB patch to each of the STS-121 crew
Furtheron the back of the original patch is partially seen.
Here a scan showing the cloth back of my original ASTROLAB patch:
and here scans of the plastic backs
of my 4gator ASTROLAB
It was a very interesting visit
and it was a pleasure to meet Detlev who is a very friendly guy. Many
thanks to him for some nice hours talking on space themes.