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  Space Cover 30: All Shook Up!

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 30: All Shook Up!

Posts: 1383
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 11-08-2009 07:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 30 (November 9, 2009)

Space Cover #30, All Shook Up!

Forty-two years ago today, the world around Cape Canaveral shook like it never had before. The first Saturn 5 moon rocket (known as AS-501 or Apollo 4) was launched, unmanned, on November 9, 1967, on a near perfect test flight. The rocket's 7.5 million pounds of thrust shook the ground around the area so hard that Walter Cronkite had to report the launch amid falling ceiling tiles inside his broadcast booth! Seventy-five minutes later, air pressure waves resulting from the launch were measurable 900 miles away at Columbia University in New York City.

The Apollo 4 cover that I chose to showcase this flight is a contractor cover from the AC Electronics Division of the General Motors Corporation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. These were specially printed for this flight and sent to customers and VIP's to publicize AC Electronics' involvement in the flight. AC Electronics built the guidance computer for the Command Module (CM) for Apollo 4 and also the Primary Navigation and Guidance System for the Lunar Modules flown on later flights.

This cover carries one of the "Gemini Twins" (US #1332) stamps issued about 1-1/2 months earlier. Even though the launch took place at the Kennedy Space Center, this cover was postmarked at the nearby Cape Canaveral Post Office on the day of the launch.

Well, the bottom line was that AC Electronics' guidance computer guided the Apollo 4 CM through an 11,000 mile high earth orbit, a re-entry at lunar return speed, and splashed the CM down within sight of the recovery ship without the aid of a crew onboard! It was a good day for all involved.

Bob M

Posts: 1618
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 11-08-2009 10:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good timing and good cover, Dennis. The first Saturn V launch, Apollo 4, was certainly a big event, in more ways than one, and surely a number of interesting covers resulted from that event.

I've shown one that was cacheted with the official Apollo 4 NASA/KSC rubber stamp cachet and was signed by the Saturn V Program Manager at NASA/MSFC, Arthur Rudolph, who was at KSC for the launch. It was an extra special day for him, as he noted in his inscription. He witnessed the launch on his 61st birthday and noted that it was a very special "birthday candle" - certainly the world's biggest and loudest!

All times are CT (US)

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