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  Space Cover 33: Sam I Am!

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 33: Sam I Am!
micropooz
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Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 11-29-2009 06:15 PM     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 33 (November 30, 2009)

Space Cover #33: Sam, I Am!

Fifty years ago this week, a test flight for Project Mercury successfully occurred, with the "successfully" part being a rarity in the early stages of this project. Little Joe 2 (LJ-2) was launched from Wallops Island, Virginia, on December 4, 1959 to test the Mercury escape system during a high-altitude abort, and to provide biomedical data from a rhesus monkey named Sam (actually SAM - an acronym for School of Aerospace Medicine, who sponsored the research). At 59 seconds into the flight, the Mercury escape tower was fired, pulling the prototype Mercury capsule and Sam away from the Little Joe booster at Mach 6 to an altitude of 53 miles. Just over eleven minutes after launch, Sam splashed down off the coast of Virginia and was successfully recovered.

The cover I have chosen to commemorate the LJ-2 flight was hand cancelled at Wallops just over 3 hours after launch. The Goldcraft Cachet was designed and applied by George Goldey of Canton, TX. Goldey produced printed cachets for a large number of early space events all the way into the early 1970's. Most of his cachet art was highly stylized (as can be seen here - his rocket looks nothing like LJ-2 pictured below), and sometimes was not even applicable to the event being commemorated. However, there is quite a following of space cover collectors who go after Goldcraft cachets. Love 'em or hate 'em, Goldcraft Cachets are a major part of space cover collecting!

All times are CT (US)

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