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  Space Cover 41: Tracking or Recovery?

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 41: Tracking or Recovery?

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

posted 01-25-2010 06:09 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 41 (January 25, 2010)

Space Cover #41, Tracking or Recovery?

This week's Space Cover of the Week is actually three covers. Starting with the Project Mercury flights and on into the shuttle flights tracking ships have played a key role in communicating with manned spacecraft. Designated USNS, United States Naval Ship, these are non-commissioned ships of the United States Navy. These are auxiliary support vessels owned by the US Navy and operated by Military Sealift Command that are in service and crewed by civilians rather than Navy personnel. In addition to manned space missions these ships track a number of other types of rocket and missile launches.

For the Apollo missions there were US Navy ships assigned as the prime and secondary recovery ships and USNS ships for tracking and communication roles. One exception to this is the USNS Vanguard's role in the Apollo 8 mission. The USNS Vanguard's first role in the mission was a tracking role - thus a cover for it should have an appropriate tracking cachet applied by the ship's master. Upon completion of that role the USNS Vanguard was moved to another location and acted as a secondary recovery ship - thus another appropriate cachet would be a recovery ship cachet such as the Beck RSC used by the US Navy ships.

As depicted in the image the USNS Vanguard supplied actually three different cachets for the mission - the middle cover represents the "regular" USNS Vanguard ship cachet as a tracking vessel. The top and bottom covers display two different versions of the Beck RSC for the Apollo 8 recovery - the difference is the additional wording "MOON ORBITAL FLIGHT" in the top cover.

Do you have both types in your Apollo 8 ship collection?


Posts: 373
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 01-26-2010 06:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tom has brought up a very interesting, and little know point regarding the USNS Vanguard's dual role. It should also be mentioned that the same applies for Apollo 7, 9 and 10 and possibly 11. I have both covers illustrated on my Recovery Ship site for Apollo 7, 8 and 9. I'm missing the SRS type cover for Apollo 10 and 11. Although there is some doubt over its dual role in Apollo 11. If anyone has a SRS type cover for Apollo 10 or 11 please let me know.

All times are CT (US)

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