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  Space Cover 04: Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 04: Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
Apollo-Soyuz
Member

Posts: 868
From: Shady Side, Md
Registered: Sep 2004

posted 05-10-2009 04:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo-Soyuz   Click Here to Email Apollo-Soyuz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 4 (May 10, 2009)

Space Cover #4, Apollo Soyuz Test Project Launches

This week's Space Cover of the Week features a very special Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) cover that was dual cancelled, first in Moscow for the Soyuz launch and then at Cape Canaveral for the Apollo launch. Having covers cancelled for both launches taking place on the same day (7 1/2 hours apart) and thousands of miles apart, posed a great challenge but space dealer Eberhard Coelle, through much planning and assistance was able to succeed. The results was 3000 covers like the one shown above and another 3000 covers also cancelled in Moscow for the Soyuz launch and then cancelled in Houston for the historic linkup on July 17. It should be of interest and noted that both cancels are dated July 15, 1975; the cover is cacheted with the official ASTP Program insignia and that both the Soviet ASTP stamp (designed from a painting by Alexei Leonov) and the US ASTP stamp, both show similiar depictions of the two spacecraft docking.

A Word document file detailing the step by step process and history of how these covers were created will be emailed to anyone interested.

------
John Macco
Space Unit#1457

micropooz
Member

Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 05-10-2009 08:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And if I remember right, Leonov did the artwork for the Russian stamp on this cover.

daveblog
Member

Posts: 129
From: Bergenfield, NJ USA
Registered: May 2004

posted 05-11-2009 10:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for daveblog   Click Here to Email daveblog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Out of curiosity, if one wanted to add a cover with both postmarks to their collection, what is the rough price it might cost, provided I found one for sale?

yeknom-ecaps
Member

Posts: 458
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 05-11-2009 11:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They are very reasonable (since most people don't know their history) as the ones I've seen have been selling in the $5-$15 range.

Bob M
Member

Posts: 1367
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-11-2009 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And 3,000 of each type was a large number. I wonder if Coelle was even able to sell them all back then? But regardless, they are unique and significant covers.

eurospace
Member

Posts: 2275
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 05-11-2009 02:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am wondering about the astrophilatelic "value" of this cover:
  • the American postmarker is from Cape Canaveral. The Apollo spacecraft launched from the Kennedy Space Center (located on Merritt Island, not Cape Canaveral).

  • the Russian postmarker is from Moscow. The Soyuz rocket launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome (and postmarkers exist from this location).
In other words: I feel this cover misses its target on both accounts, doesn't it?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-11-2009 02:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For what it is worth (if anything at all), wire services (such as the Associated Press) at the time of the Apollo-Soyuz mission used (and through today, continue to use) "Cape Canaveral" for their dateline regardless if the launch is from Kennedy Space Center.

Bob M
Member

Posts: 1367
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-11-2009 02:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by eurospace:
In other words: I feel this cover misses its target on both accounts, doesn't it?
Receiving and reading John's Word Document about this complicated process would show how difficult it was to get these 3000 launch/launch covers canceled in the short amount of time available.

Allowances had to be made and certainly getting 6,000 covers canceled and then on an international flight starting at Baikonur, unlike Moscow, would have been, at best, too time consuming.

And collector access to the Kennedy Space Center post office back then wasn't easy, unlike the much more convenient and collector-friendly Cape Canaveral post office.

Sure, Baikonur/KSC cancels would have been ideal, but probably close to impossible or much more trouble than it would have been worth.

yeknom-ecaps
Member

Posts: 458
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 05-11-2009 07:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Juergen indirectly points out the astrophilatelic rule (for those that exhibit) that the cancel needs to be appropriate for the event (e.g. nearest post office to the launch site for the launch). Certainly this cover does not meet that criteria as he points out.

Bob makes great points as well about the logistics of such a process and access to the post offices themselves to get the cancels.

Ultimately it is the collector who has to decide the value in having any cover in their collection ..... For example, we continue to see this today with a KSC and/or Cape Canaveral cancel attaining higher prices for an Apollo moonlanding event cover than one from Houston - where JSC Houston is managing the flight at that time while the only KSC/CC area involvement in the flight at that same time is the Merritt Island tracking station.

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 1823
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 05-11-2009 09:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral (AFS), Patrick AFB, and Merritt Island all share actual shuttle launch-involvement operations.

In speaking of nearest postal facilities to the launch site itself (Launch Complex 39) for all the shuttles; #1 would be, of course, KSC itself that I am sure all space cover collectors would agree on; #2 in terms of distance would be Cape Canaveral; #3 is Merritt Island; and the last location--the farthest away from the space center--would be Patrick AFB.

While the shuttles are launched from Kennedy Space Center, geographically located on northern Merritt Island, launch support activities are conducted from the Cape, Patrick, and Merritt Island (actually a part of the space center grounds for tracking support).

I've always been concerned by the fact that most philatelic judges at major stamp-cover exhibitions with astrophilatelic material only seem to recognize KSC as the "official" appropriate launch postal site for Apollo and shuttle liftoffs.

Sometimes the Cape/CC would be included, but in retrospect, all four of the listed Space Coast area locations would qualify, in my opinion, for various launch-site postal documentation acceptances.

Granted, KSC is the closest--but in regards to the combo/ASTP cover referred to in this topic, the Cape would be a primary location if KSC wasn't practical as Bob pointed out.

Remember--On the Cape air force station during the Apollo-Soyuz launch in 1975, there were a number of launch-related opertaions in progress from there.

The most crucial in my mind would be from the Cape's Range Control Center. Range safety officers from here carefully track, measure, and compute systems that are tracking a launch vehicle throughout powered flight. This is an important function that is performed on the Cape-side and not from the Launch Control Center of Complex 39.

eurospace
Member

Posts: 2275
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 05-12-2009 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bob M:
Sure, Baikonur/KSC cancels would have been ideal, but probably close to impossible or much more trouble than it would have been worth.
Sorry, Bob, but no. The same International Book agency that applied the Moscow IPO postmarker also used a Baikonur handcancel in their offices. Of course, the variety of the cancel used at Baikonur itself would have been the perfect solution, but the very cancel used at Moscow would have been possible and a better solution in this case and under these very specific circumstances.

Bob M
Member

Posts: 1367
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-14-2009 07:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the clarification, Juergen, and it is too bad that Coelle didn't use, or ask to use, the more appropriate and evidently available Baikonur cancel in Moscow rather than the less-appropriate Moscow cancel on his 6,000 ASTP covers. The result would have been more philatelically correct and appropriate.

But being a dealer and doing these covers to sell, and in such huge numbers, did indicate that he hoped to sell a large number and possibly philatelic niceties and
correctness wasn't a primary concern of his.

And it's possible that because of the severe time-restraint he was under, he was forced to use the cancel (Moscow) that was more available to him in the short amount of time he had and then hurry the covers on their way to their next destination.

Apollo-Soyuz
Member

Posts: 868
From: Shady Side, Md
Registered: Sep 2004

posted 07-15-2012 03:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo-Soyuz   Click Here to Email Apollo-Soyuz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After the ASTP covers described in the above SCOTW post were sold, questions about the validity of the Cape Canaveral cancellations was raised due to the 5PM closing of the CC post office. Documentation about this was offered in a letter from the USPS Southern District (PDF).

This document (PDF) explains how the covers were created.

David Ball, author of American Astrophilately brought this to my attention and thought I needed to share this with all astrophilatelists which I agreed to do.

All times are CT (US)

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