Space Cover #5, Hubble Space Telscope
STS-31 HST Deployment Mission
With the final Hubble Space Telescope (HST) servicing mission now underway on STS-125, it seems appropriate that veteran space collector, Bob McLeod chose a cover for this week's Space Cover of the Week that marks the launch of STS-31, the Space Shuttle mission that carried HST into space.
Just over 19 years ago, on April 24, 1990, the Space Shuttle Discovery was launched carrying the Hubble Space Telescope. The STS-31 crew successfully deployed the HST the next day and since then the HST has made over 100,000 orbits of the earth.
This week's cover, that appears as just a standard, ordinary space cover, with a handsome HST patch printed cachet; well-applied launch-dated KSC hand stamp cancel and an 18 cent stamp picturing a space telescope in space, is not quite ordinary.
The U.S. postage rate was 25 cents in April 1990, but the stamp affixed to this cover is an 18 cent "space telescope" stamp issued in 1981. Wanting to create an extra special cover for this special flight, I decided to try to have a cover canceled with only the 18 cent space telescope stamp as postage.
Evidently, the post office clerk canceling my covers didn't notice that my cover had inadequate postage and it slipped through and was nicely canceled.
Such "dishonest" behavior is not recommended, or legal, but sometimes to create special and unusual covers, such approaches are needed and can result in more special covers.