Space Cover #35: Clusters' Last Stand
A difficult launch cover is shown for Wernher von Braun team's Saturn Apollo-1 operational rocket test, October 27, 1961, at Cape Canaveral, Florida. This important cover for the first Saturn Apollo rocket test is additionally signed by NASA's Manned Space Flight Center Director, Wernher von Braun, who led the MSFC scientific and engineering team developing the rocket.
Authors Charles Benson and William Faherty, in their book, "Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations," comment, "While still preparing for the launch of its first Jupiter (31 May 1957), the Army rocket team at Huntsville, Alabama, began studies of a booster ten times more powerful than the 667,200 newton (150,000-pound thrust) Jupiter. The tenfold increase in thrust could put a weather and communications satellite into orbit around the earth, or propel a space probe out of Earth's orbit." The authors continue, "In December 1957, von Braun's group (officially known as the Development Operations Division of the ABMA) set out arguments for the new booster program. The super-rocket would develop 6,672,000 newtons (1,500,000 pounds of thrust) and serve as a stepping-stone to an even larger rocket capable of manned lunar missions. Its early development and adaptation in a multistage vehicle could accomplish a number of space objectives pointing towards a landing on the Moon in 1967."
Wernher Von Braun and his team recognized the magnitude of the task before the engineers and scientists at MSFC doing preliminary work on the project. Von Braun stated, "Clearly, at least ten unmanned flights with the huge new rocket would be required before anyone would muster the courage to launch a crew with it. (Even ten would be a far smaller number than the unmanned launches of Redstones, Atlases, and Titans that had preceded the first manned Mercury and Gemini flights). The first manned Apollo flights would be limited to low Earth orbits."
Clyde Sarzin's SA-1 cover above is a classic space event cover and a must have cover for major collections specializing in the Apollo rocket program. The Apollo rocket was the rocket that would take astronauts to the Moon. Sarzin of Port Washington, Long Island, New York, was an early servicer of space covers like George Goldey, Goldcraft; Jim Novotny, Artopages; and Joe Fitzpatrick and Carl Swanson, Space Craft Covers. He is held in high regard by space cover collectors due to his use of period photos in cachets along with key information pertinent to the space events he chronicled.