James Lovell
John Swigert
Fred Haise


Lumen Winter


Norman Tiller

Apollo 13

When we got the patch together ... we were the first [crew] to take the science aspect of the flight seriously. ... The idea of that patch was essentially mine. I didn’t draw it; I drew the other three patches (Gemini 7, Gemini 12 and Apollo 8). I said we wanted to do something with Apollo. I started out the design of this patch with the idea of the mythical god, Apollo, driving his chariot across the sky and dragging the sun with it. We eventually gave this idea to an artist in New York City named Lumen Winter, and he eventually came up with the three horse design which symbolized the Apollo but also included the Earth and the Moon. The funny thing is that Winter, prior to making the patch for us, made a large wall mural of horses crossing the sky with the Earth below which is prominently displayed at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City. The horses are very similar to the ones on our patch, except that it had a fourth horse falling back and that, ironically, could have been Ken Mattingly who was replaced before our flight. That mural is now in New Jersey someplace. Anyway, we said, ‘Why put names on it?’ We decided to eliminate the names and instead put in the Latin ‘Ex Luna, Scientia’ or ‘From the Moon, Knowledge.’ I plagiarized this somewhat because it is similar to the Naval Academy ‘Ex trident, scientia’ which is ‘From the sea, knowledge.’

—Jim Lovell, from an interview with Glen Swanson published in the Spring 1995 issue of Quest, The History of Spaceflight Magazine.

It is an interesting coincidence that, aside from Apollo 11, this was the only flight of the Apollo series (including Skylab and ASTP) that did not include the names of the crewmembers on the patch — and that this was the only flight to have a change in crew. I imagine that later crews didn’t want to tempt fate by omitting their names!

The story of this patch has an epilogue: when the St. Regis Hotel was refurbished, Winter’s 20×8 foot mural was removed. Its location was unknown for several years before appearing at an auction of space artifacts in Los Angeles. It was purchased by Tom Hanks, who portrayed Lovell in the movie Apollo 13. Hanks then gifted the mural to Lovell, and when Lovell’s son opened a restaurant, Lovell’s of Lake Forest, near Chicago in 1999, the mural was given prominent placement in the establishment. The restaurant has now closed, and Lovell has donated the mural to the Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Center in North Chicago.

NASA photo S69-60662

Beta cloth version of the Apollo 13 patch. The varying sizes of beta cloth patches seems to have settled down around Apollo 13. Subsequent patches (with the exception of the smaller SMEAT patch) varied only slightly (1-2mm) from the standard set by this patch.
89mm dia

This embroidered patch is an extraordinarily faithful rendering. The source of this patch claimed that it was 1970’s vintage, a claim that is supported by the original packaging it was in, with a price of $1. AB Emblem was the manufacturer of this patch as well as the one on the right. The “ribbing” effect visible in the sun marks this as the version worn by the crew.
91mm w × 92mm h

A variant AB Emblem embroidered Apollo 13 patch. While this is a lovely rendering, the horses are of different colors, rather than all the same, as in the artwork. Both AB and Lion Bros patches have a silver rim, rather than orange as in the design.

Lion Brothers embroidered Apollo 13 patch. This rendition follows the original artwork less faithfully than the first AB Emblem patch (above), but more faithfully than the second AB Emblem patch (above right): the color of the three horses are all the same (albeit too dark), and the lunar surface shows craters. Also, the stitching of the blue contrail is more precise.
100mm dia

The hallmark — the number “13” stitched into a horses mane — that appears on the Lion Brothers patch.

An extremely faithful embroidered design. For my taste, the yellow is missing some significant red — it should be closer to orange — like the patch to the right. There is variant [ap13-em5] that is identical on the front, but has a black back.
101mm dia

Yet another recent remake. It’s hard to imagine any embroidered patch that would be more faithful to the artwork than this.
101mm dia

This beautifully rendered vintage version is similar to [ap13-em1] but differs in significant respects, mainly in the rendering of the horses; but note also the halo around the earth and the lack of black craters on the moon. Thanks to Ron Goode for this image.

The MSC artist who produced the final artwork for the Apollo 13 patch, Norman Tiller, secreted his initials on the left foreleg of the rightmost horse — a detail too small to make it into any of the embroidered versions of the patch. It did, however, make it into the beta-cloth version — though barely legible.

The 1969 mural by Lumen Winter which inspired the design of the Apollo 13 patch. Originally hung in the St. Regis Hotel, the mural now hangs in the Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, Ill.

A painting after the original mural, done by Winter in 1981. Signed, numbered prints have been made of this painting, and are now in the hands of many collectors.

NASA photo S69-62224
Beginning with Apollo 13 it became customary to include the crew patch as part of the official crew portrait. This custom continued through Apollo 17. This portrait shows the original crew, prior to the last-minute substitution of John Swigert for Ken Mattingly.