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  Flown flag 'controversy' on NASA Watch (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Flown flag 'controversy' on NASA Watch
cosmos-walter
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Posts: 468
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 06-17-2006 04:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Official Russian organisations like Svezda who are building among others Sokol space suits are offering flown and unflown space memorabilia like space suits from time to time.

Prior to Soyuz TMA-8 launch RKK Energia sent 60 covers to Pavel Vinogradov for being cancelled and signed in space. They were returned to earth by Valeri Tokarev on April 8th, 2006. Such a cover is available for some 300 US $.

Similar covers exist from most other Soyuz flights to ISS.

Soviet and Russian cosmonauts have an old tradition of receiving letters from wife, children, friends, fellow-cosmonauts, and experimentors.

Most of you would be very surprised if you knew how small the number of letters received or sent by a cosmonaut on board ISS with each delivery is. It is a very small fraction of the number of covers officially sent into space by RKK Energia.

I never saw a picture or even heard about any flown and postmarked letter Rosaviakosmos spokesman Sergei Gorbunov referred to.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-17-2006 04:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rochemontagne:
Many of these eventually make it to the open market.
Quite the opposite is a true: a great majority of the flags flown on shuttle missions (and other souvenir type items carried in the OFK) never see beyond the office or home of the employee, contractor or VIP to whom it was presented. Most treasure these items as awards and therefore are reluctant to part with them. If the opposite were true, the market would literally be flooded with flown flags and that is clearly not the case.

spaceman
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Posts: 978
From: Walsall, West Midlands, UK
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 06-18-2006 08:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman   Click Here to Email spaceman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Walter, how does one get onto a mailing list for spacesuits (spacesuit parts, etc.) from the original source?

kyra
Member

Posts: 520
From: Louisville CO US
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 06-18-2006 09:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At this point it seems NASAwatch is just looking for a scoop. The whole thing seems blown out of proportion. Flags of this type have flown before and they will probably fly again as the years go by.

I have dealt with Alex before, and I will say he is honest as the day is long. He did the right thing by pulling these flags from e-bay. If you have visited his site he deals with thousands of space items and it will happen from time to time that a questionable item will hit the market.

It should serve as a warning to any collector or dealer to be extra cautious when dealing with a third party.

jrkeller
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posted 06-18-2006 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jrkeller   Click Here to Email jrkeller     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
If the opposite were true, the market would literally be flooded with flown flags and that is clearly not the case.
You are absolutely right! There's a perfect example of a flag flown to Mir by the space shuttle on eBay right now. NASA gave out something like 9500 to 10000 of these. Mine is at home, near my desk. In fact I'm looking at it as I type.

jrkeller
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posted 06-18-2006 09:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jrkeller   Click Here to Email jrkeller     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by kyra:
At this point it seems NASAwatch is just looking for a scoop. The whole thing seems blown out of proportion.
The first place that I saw this issue was at USSR-AirSpace.

Personally, I'm glad that NASAWatch is making these flags an issue. NASA spends countless hours finding ways to save every pound that they can and then to find out that people are benefiting financially makes me very angry (not the words I'd prefer to use).

If as Rochemontagne states is true,

quote:
Originally posted by Rochemontagne:
I heard, from a reliable source, that Tokarev, Expedition 12, was caught trying to take an extra 5 kgs of items up with him.
...that's a significant amount of weight that could be used for something important like food, electronics, etc.

Rochemontagne
Member

Posts: 186
From: Loveland, CO U.S.A.
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 06-18-2006 11:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rochemontagne   Click Here to Email Rochemontagne     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If NASA is looking for ways to save every pound they can, why does NASA fly thousands of souvenirs at taxpayers expense?

Cameron Stark
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posted 06-18-2006 01:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cameron Stark   Click Here to Email Cameron Stark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert Pearlman makes a fair point. As far as I follow this story, a respected dealer was defrauded, and has now withdrawn the articles. The political correctness issue is doubtless important, but it's not my own main concern.

I don't know much about this area of collecting, but I'd have happy to accept that the signatures, stamps and photo provided convincing proof of authenticity. The safety net for this type of fraud is usually the dealer. It's worrying that one of the dealers who must have the most experience of looking at such items couldn't tell them to be fake either. It certainly leaves me with a still more cautious view on third party items.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-18-2006 01:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rochemontagne:
If NASA is looking for ways to save every pound they can, why does NASA fly thousands of souvenirs at taxpayers expense?
There seems to be some confusion about who is tracking the weight. The concern raised about Tokarev's extra 5kg (if indeed a concern) was raised by Roscosmos, not NASA. The weight restrictions Tokarev allegedly violated are those set for the Russian Soyuz.

As far as NASA flying "thousands of souvenirs at taxpayers expense," that really isn't true. Whether an Official Flight Kit (OFK), which is limited by federal regulations to a container approximately 0.057 cubic meters (2 cubic feet) in size, is on-board the shuttle or not doesn't change the cost of launching a shuttle mission.

Besides, most the recepients of these items are taxpayers too, and more importantly, they are the people making the missions possible or the organizations lending support to the crew and the space agency. They deserve to be recognized for their efforts and this is a unique, relatively low-cost way NASA can do so.

That said, I wish NASA would fly even more items to be distributed to the public. While the space agency's Spaceflight Awareness Office has done admirably well awarding its employees and contractors with flown mementos as well its Education Office doing the same perioidically to inspire students, the only times I can remember NASA working on a similar project for the general public has been in collaboration with the U.S. Postal Service, launching covers on STS-8 and stamps on STS-68. It would be encouraging to see the agency partner with other organizations, such as the Franklin Mint (as they permitted on Apollo 13 and Apollo 14), to make flown mementos available to supporters, voters and taxpayers.

Rochemontagne
Member

Posts: 186
From: Loveland, CO U.S.A.
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 06-19-2006 09:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rochemontagne   Click Here to Email Rochemontagne     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As per an August 2, 2005, article on this site, you stated that onboard STS-114 there was 700 STS-114 crew patches, 2,000 state, country, and agency flags, and the total amount of souvenirs in the 2 cubic feet of space was approximately 6,000. That just shows that a lot of stash can fit in 2 cubic feet of space.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-19-2006 09:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rochemontagne:
...a lot of stash can fit in 2 cubic feet of space.
"A lot" can also be a relative term. NASA currently employs approximately 19,000 civil servants and 40,000 contractors. Put into that perspective, 700 crew patches or 650 small U.S. flags doesn't seem to stretch very far.

Rochemontagne
Member

Posts: 186
From: Loveland, CO U.S.A.
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 06-19-2006 01:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rochemontagne   Click Here to Email Rochemontagne     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My comment was just intended to show that, even though the space that is allotted to fly souvenirs is only 2 cubic feet, a lot of stash will fit into 2 cubic feet.


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