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  Apollo 15 flown covers, souvenirs and the "third PPK"

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Author Topic:   Apollo 15 flown covers, souvenirs and the "third PPK"
Ken Havekotte
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Posts: 1970
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 04-04-2007 02:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On the subject of Jim Irwin's Apollo 15 flown Shamrock covers, they were inside Irwin's PPK that remained in the command module Endeavour for the entire flight.

Both Irwin's and Scott's lunar module PPKs were never retrieved from Falcon as the crew forgot them before heading back to Earth.

The eight Shamrock covers were listed on Irwin's command module PPK, as a copy of the manifest indicates. I've had a few emails and calls/discussions about this, but despite what others may think, it is my honest belief that all eight Shamrock covers were "Carried to the Moon" but never went down to the surface.

davidcwagner
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Posts: 536
From: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 04-04-2007 02:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for davidcwagner   Click Here to Email davidcwagner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If the Lunar Module PPKs were not retrieved from the LM, then how were the Sieger covers retrieved from the lunar module? Could the Shamrock covers been with them?

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-04-2007 02:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to NASA:
These 398 were properly packaged for flight and carried on board Apollo 15 by Scott in a pocket of his space suit...
Therefore the Sieger covers were not packed within the PPKs.

Ken Havekotte
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Posts: 1970
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 04-04-2007 02:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The PPKs for the Apollo 15 crew members were packed and stored aboard the spacecraft days before their launch to the moon.

Beforehand, the 400 (later discovered to be only 398 after splashdown) Scott-Sieger postal covers were hand delivered to the post office (HQS Bldg.) at Kennedy Space Center just after midnight early launch morning. There was a postal employee working late there and had the covers machine cancelled, as requested from the astronaut support office, even though the liftoff of Apollo 15 was planned for 9+ hours away.

Once the special cachet envelopes were processed in less than 15 minutes or so, the batch of covers were brought to a nearby facility, the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building (also known as the Operations and Checkout Facility), where the batch of covers were vacuum packed so that the bundle was not thicker than 5 cm. Next, they were sealed in fireproof Teflon-coated fiberglas, and delivered to Launch Complex 39A's White Room after Scott and his crewmates had arrived at the pad for their final launch preparations and spacecraft entry.

While there, Scott received the special package and put the small bundle into one of his leg-pockets of the spacesuit he had on.

During prior conversations about the Shamrock covers, there was no way such envelopes were a part of the Sieger bundle, nor, put anyplace else on Scott's person and/or Irwin (inside a spacesuit pocket or container) as all of Irwin's Shamrock covers were listed and "approved okay" by NASA prior to launch — but only as a part of his command module PPK.

There was no secret location of Irwin's special covers, as some may believe, therefore end of story.

SRB
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posted 04-04-2007 02:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SRB   Click Here to Email SRB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ken, as you know, the Final Stowage list for Apollo 15 shows that there was a third PPK on the LM which was transferred back to the CM and returned to Earth. I wonder what was in that PPK?

That might be the source of the lunar landed flags, patches, etc. for this mission.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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From: Houston, TX
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posted 04-04-2007 02:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Was this "third PPK" the Postal Kit flown for the U.S. Postal Service?

First Man also mentions a third PPK used by the Apollo 11 moonwalkers for personal items such as sunglasses, pens, etc.

SRB
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posted 04-04-2007 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SRB   Click Here to Email SRB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The PPK that is shown as having been transferred back to the CM from the LM is simply described as "Kit, Pilots Preference (PPK)" This would seem to rule out it being a Postal Kit of some kind.

The Stowage list shows that pens, pencils, markers, scissors, sunglasses, etc. were "On Crew". While this doesn't rule out other similar items being in this LM PPK, it seems to make it less likely that the PPK carried a lot of items the astronauts also carried in their spacesuits.

Ken Havekotte
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Posts: 1970
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 04-04-2007 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, a "third" kit aboard Apollo 15's lunar module Falcon continues to be somewhat of a mystery. I've been talking about this with space folks, even a few astronauts, since last year. Unfortunately though, Irwin never said anything about it and I don't think Scott has ever commented about knowing about such a "third" kit.

I do believe, perhaps starting with Apollo 11, that NASA and the government kept their own kit aboard the landing crafts. But I do not believe, just my own opinion for now, that any such contents of a mysterious "third" kit contained any personal astronaut-owned souvenirs.

So far, from what I can gather, it would appear that only NASA and various government agency issued flags of the nations, U.S. states and territories, perhaps some mission patches, and possibly other government-related items may had been the contents of a third kit aboard the later lunar module missions.

In regards to the carried stamp kit aboard Falcon, as I understand it, that was a completely separate container not related to any of the provided or astronaut-issued PPKs. Besides, there were only two Apollo flights that flew a postal-related "kit," if you will, — Apollos 11 and 15 — in which both were approved by the U.S. postal service.

Hopefully, and perhaps sometime soon, we can eventually conclude this topic in order to shed more factual light on the mysterious lunar module "third" kits.

Tom
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Posts: 1341
From: New York
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 04-04-2007 03:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did Dave Scott (or Jim Irwin) ever explain why their two LM PPKs were left in the lunar module? Was it an oversight?

Do we know the contents of both kits?

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 1970
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 04-04-2007 03:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, it certainly was an oversight. Both astronauts had thought the other had retrieved the kits before Falcon was jettisoned in lunar orbit.

Irwin reported that the kits were on Scott's side of the LM (left side), therefore, he said it was Scott's task to bring them over to Endeavour. Irwin also said his LM PPK contained more envelopes, stamps, medallions, flags, shamrocks, and more!

Included were at least a hundred $2 bills that he and Scott were going to split after the voyage. Even some of Worden's things were carried along with a wedding ring for a NASA friend of Irwin family, and a Marine flag from Cunningham that he overlooked on his Apollo 7 trip.

Everything from his PPK was "completely lost," Irwin would later tell me on a trip to see him in Colorado.

cosmos-walter
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Posts: 417
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 04-05-2007 09:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Barbara Baker cover stayed also with Al Worden in CM.

I have another question: Apollo 15 was launched at 13:34 UTC (Greenich Meantime) being 8:34 local time at KSC (EST = UTC - 5 hours). The astronauts went up to their capsule by elevator some three hours earlier. Obviously the guy sealing the covers fireproof had to do it in the middle of the night if time schedule was as described.

Is there any confirmation that the covers were postmarked after midnight - right on launch day?

ArtandAstro
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posted 04-15-2007 05:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ArtandAstro   Click Here to Email ArtandAstro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to a written statement made by Lee Saegesser, archivist, NASA Historical Office, on July 12, 1972, the covers that were carried in the space capsule were not cancelled just after midnight early launch morning, but were unstamped and unaddressed envelopes.

After the Apollo 15 flight the covers were taken to Cape Kennedy and cancelled on the day of the launch, thus they were backdated.

lunareagle
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Posts: 429
From: Michigan
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-17-2012 04:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunareagle   Click Here to Email lunareagle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is detailed research on the flown Apollo 15 covers. Since the original publication there has been new information about the "Phases of the Moon" covers, which has now been updated.

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