Space Cover #19, X-24B Official Cachets Bob McLeod
Two covers are featured in this week's Space Cover of the Week series. Both are X-24B Lifting Body covers that mark two of the X-24B's thirty-six flights from August 1973 to November 1975. The top cover has a rubber stamp cachet from the Edwards Public Affairs Office. This cover was canceled for the 6th X-24B flight, and 1st powered flight, and is cacheted with an X-24B red ink cachet showing the X-24B in flight. The Edwards Public Affairs Office applied this same type rubber stamp cachet to collectors' covers for 14 of the X-24B's first 15 flights, with a different color ink used for each flight.
After the first 15 flights, the Edwards PAO used a new black silk screen cachet for flight 16 and another cachet design for flight 18 (no NASA cachets were provided for flights 17 and 19).
Then starting with flight 20 on March 20, 1975, the NASA Employees Organization at Edwards took over the X-24B cover servicing operation. They used a very different cachet (bottom cover) and continued cacheting and canceling collectors' covers for the remainder of the X-24B Program.
The bottom cover, marking the next to last X-24B flight, and piloted by Dick Scobee, displays one of the NASA Employees Organization's black and white silk screen cachets that were used from flight 20 to flight 35. For the final X-24B flight, another cachet especially designed for the final flight was used.
In all, there were five different types of cachets used in the X-24B Program from either the NASA Public Affairs Office or the NASA Employees Organization, and all are considered official NASA cachets.
Perhaps in the future, we will display and give information on other various X-24B covers and cachets, including those from sources other than NASA.