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  Space Cover 27: SL-4 Recovery Retun to Port

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 27: SL-4 Recovery Retun to Port
yeknom-ecaps
Member

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

posted 10-20-2009 08:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 27 (October 18, 2009)

Space Cover #27, Skylab 4 Recovery - Return to Port

Many space cover collections contain prime and secondary ship covers for the recovery of the spacecraft for the manned space missions. Ships with postal facilities aboard usually cancelled for either the first or last day of the mission (be aware some dates are "off" by a day because of the location of the ship versus the International Date Line).

Another type of recovery ship cover that is actually more challenging to find is the "return to port" covers. Return to port covers exist from the very beginning of NASA's manned space program as there are USS Lake Champlain return to port covers for the first space mission - Alan Shepard's sub-orbital flight aboard MR-3.

Pictured is a cover for the Skylab 4 prime recovery ship USS New Orleans' return to port of San Diego on February 20, 1974. The cachet was added by noted space dealer Bob Boudwin to whom the cover is addressed. While covers with the recovery date of February 8 date can be easily found, finding the return to port will be a challenge.

How many missions do you have return to port covers for in your collection?

Ross
Member

Posts: 373
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 10-21-2009 07:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This reminds me of a recent question I was asked as to whether there was a list of return to port dates. Unfortunately I was not aware of one and didn't know the dates for most missions. Maybe someone from the collectSPACE community can provide such a list. I'd love to add it to by Recovery Ship Cover site.

Of course one such date is 23 February 1962 for MA-6 which is famous (infamous!) because of the backdating of USS Noa covers.

Bob M
Member

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

posted 10-23-2009 05:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just the opposite of Return to Port covers are covers for the recovery ship's departure from port for the spacecraft recovery area. Below I've shown such a cover for the USS New Orleans' departure from port for the ASTP recovery area.

I bought this cover from long-time space dealer Sean Marsar at the time of ASTP and it then had no cachet, only a stamp and a well-applied 13 Jul 1975 hand stamp cancel. I then mailed it to the USS New Orleans requesting that the ship's official rubber stamp cachet be applied and this was nicely done.

I would think that probably recovery ship Port Departure covers are much more seldom seen than Return to Port covers.

yeknom-ecaps
Member

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

posted 10-23-2009 10:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bob - GREAT cover .... have never actually seen a "departure cover" before this one!

Bob M
Member

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

posted 10-24-2009 11:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Tom, but the credit should mostly go to Sean. And as I remember, Sean also provided the mailing address for the USS New Orleans and info on having the ship's cachet applied.

And I also bought two other USS New Orleans/ASTP covers from Sean at that time and also sent them to the ship for its cachet to be applied. They were for the day before recovery and the day after - and those of us who collect ASTP covers know that the Prime Recovery Ship's post office was officially closed the day of recovery, July 24, 1975, so no USS New Orleans covers (should) exist with the actual splashdown and recovery date.

Bob M
Member

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

posted 10-25-2009 10:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This interesting discussion about "Port" covers reminded me that I had a few more and did locate another "Departure to Recovery Area" cover and a "Return to Port" cover from my collecting years ago.

I've shown below, at the top, a USS Yorktown Apollo 8 Prime Recovery Ship (PRS) cover dated January 6, 1969 for the Yorktown's return to port after its recovery of the Apollo 8 crew and spacecraft.

Below that, I've shown a USS Ticonderoga Apollo 16 PRS cover dated April 8, 1972 for the Tico's departure for the Apollo 16 recovery area.

The Apollo 8 Return to Port cover was bought from dealer Sean Marsar for $5 in 1976 and the Apollo 16 cover was bought from another collector in 1975.

Surely, such "Port" covers are not plentiful, but probably a fair number are tucked away in old, and in some cases, forgotten, collections and it is good to see some come to light. Perhaps more will here -

All times are CT (US)

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