Russian Girl Creates Next Soyuz Crew Patch

Russian Girl Creates Next Soyuz Crew Patch
Twelve-year-old Anna Chibiskova's original painting was selected as the central element of the Soyuz TMA-14 crew patch. (Image credit: Federal Space Agency/Roscosmos)

A12-year-old girl from Moscow will see her artwork launch to space in March 2009as the winner of an international contest to design an insignia for the nextcosmonaut crew.

AnnaChibiskova was honored on Monday at a ceremony held at Russia's mission controlcenter outside Moscow, where her painting of a pair of hands supporting theEarth was revealed as the basis for the SoyuzTMA-14 crew's mission patch. Her art will be embroidered and sewn onto thespacesuits that the three cosmonauts will wear during their March 25 launch tothe International Space Station.

"Thankyou for your attention to the creation of our logo," said Soyuz commanderGennady Padalka before announcing Chibiskova as the winner. "We managed tosee the best of more than 150 drawings, each of which is worthy of victory."

Under therules of the contest, which was organized by Roscosmos, Russia's Federal SpaceAgency, with the cooperation of other nations' space programs including NASA,children ages 6 to 15 from around the world had from Oct. 25 to Christmas Day 2008to create and submit their idea for a patch in the form of a drawing, paintingor computer-assisted design.

Padalka,along with U.S. astronaut Michael Barrett, who together will serve as the spacestation's 19th expedition crew, judged the designs. Their names, along with spaceflightparticipant Charles Simonyi, will be on the emblem.

In additionto naming Chibiskova's painting as the winner, Padalka and Barrett also selectedsecond and third place designs.

"It isunfortunate that the winners in this contest could be only three," saidPadalka. "We would have been happy to have chosen a number."

For thirdplace, the cosmonaut and astronaut chose the artwork of an 11-year-old boy fromUglegorsk, near where Russia is building a launch facility. Stanislav Pyatkin'scircular patch design depicted the spacesuit-clad crewmen holding their raisedhands, while standing in front of their rocket.

Kaitlin Riley,12, from New York, won second place with her star-shaped crayon drawing of theEarth and a Soyuz rocket set against the blackness of space.

"I ampleased that among the winners is a girl from the USA and the boy fromUglegorsk where the Vostochny spaceport will be built," said AnatolyPerminov, director of Roscosmos, while also suggesting a fourth entrant fromKazakhstan be honored since "it is clear that in the near future, allmanned launches will take place from Baikonur, Kazakhstan is our reliablepartner in the space program."

OnlyChibiskova's design will be worn by the crew, though all three winners havebeen invited to attend the launch. The Russian Insurance Center, an insurancejoint-stock company, sponsored the contest and will underwrite the winners'travel from Moscow to Baikonur, as well as their accommodations and tours atthe Kazakh cosmodrome.

Othersamong the 150 entrants, who represented Russia, Holland, Belarus, Turkey,India, Poland, Belgium, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and the UnitedStates, were chosen to receive photographs autographed by the Soyuz TMA-14crew.

Padalkawill be making his third flight into space and his second visit to the spacestation. In 2004, he served for six months as ISS Expedition 9 commander.

SoyuzTMA-14 will be Barratt's first space flight since his selection as a NASAastronaut in 2000.

Simonyiwill become the firstspaceflight participant to fly twice to the outpost, previously having paidto stay there for 10 days in 2007. A Hungarian software developer, he earlieroversaw the creation of Microsoft's suite of Office applications.

In additionto the crew's names, the flags of Russia and the United States were added toChibiskova's art to form the final emblem. Blue and red borders were alsoadded.

This wasthe first time in the Russian space program's history that a child has beeninvited to design a space patch, though students have created for insignia forother countries' missions in the past.

"Ihope that all the children's work sent to our crew will be entered in conteststo create logos for the future crews to fly on Russian ships to theInternational Space Station," said Padalka in a release posted onRoscosmos' website, suggesting it start a new tradition aimed at attracting theattention of children in space exploration.

Seethe patch based on the winner's artwork, as well as the second andthird place designs at collectSPACE.

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Robert Z. Pearlman Editor, Contributor

Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.