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  Space Cover 51, Apollo 13, Lucky Number 13

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 51, Apollo 13, Lucky Number 13
stevedd841
Member

Posts: 164
From: millersville, maryland, usa
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 04-04-2010 05:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stevedd841   Click Here to Email stevedd841     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 51 - April 5, 2010

Space Cover #51, Apollo 13, Lucky Number 13

Last week we presented an Apollo 13 Grumman contractor cover for the Apollo 13 mission with crewmembers Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise. This week we continue review of covers of the Apollo 13 mission as we approach the 40th anniversary of this manned spaceflight mission and its heroic emergency recovery.

The NASA Manned Spacecraft Center stamp club's Apollo 13 cover is signed by the original crew of Lovell, Mattingly, and Haise, and beneath the signatures, also includes the backup crew member Jack Swigert who replaced Ken Mattingly after his exposure to the German Measles by backup crew astronaut Charles Duke at a social gathering. Technically, this cover is not an astronaut "insurance cover" meant for immediate family members as a keepsake and "insurance" in the event a flight would fail and the crew lost. Insurance covers are cancelled at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and signed by the crew on the launch date, April 11, 1970, for Apollo 13. This cover does not meet these requirements.

This cover is a crew signed cover cancelled after the abort date April 14, 1970, in Houston, Texas where NASA's Apollo Mission Control was located. After a routine cryo stir procedure, an explosion in an oxygen tank and loss of two of three fuel cells in the command service module cripple Apollo 13's mission, halfway to the Moon on April 13, 1970. The cover is of further of interest in that Jack Swigert, the replacement command module pilot for Ken Mattingly also has signed the cover for the flight. Completing this cover is a hand cancel for April 14, 1970, Houston, Texas, after NASA's decision to abort the flight of Apollo 13, NASA's third manned spaceflight to land on the Moon. It is not known why the prelaunch signed cover displayed was not cancelled at Kennedy Space Cover as insurance covers are normally cancelled, and why it was saved until April 14, 1970, after the Apollo 13 mission abort date. Recent information indicates a few of these covers may have been in the astronaut families' possession and a few given to members of the MSC stamp club. Some also are believed to exist that were never cancelled. Does anyone in SCOTW-land have additional information?

Marilyn Lovell, wife of the mission Commander, had been uneasy over her husband Jim's command of Apollo mission number 13, launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13, at Cape Canaveral, Florida. She also contemplated that this flight in her husband's words, would be his last flight. The crew rounds the Moon using its gravity to increase their speed, makes their burn out of lunar orbit, and rockets back to Earth at a return velocity approaching 7,000 miles per hour with two trim burns to further shorten their transit back.

With 37,000 more miles to go, the crew remans their command module; emergency lifeboat and lunar module Aquarius are jettisoned. CapCom Joe Kewin comments, "Farewell, Aquarius, and we thank you!" A little later, spacecraft Odyssey and its three astronauts splash down 600 miles southeast of American Samoa at 1:07 pm EST, April 17, 1970, near primary recovery ship, USS Iwo Jima. Spacecraft Odyssey is gently buoyed-up by the long swells of the Pacific. Lovell turns to crewmembers Haise and Swigert and says, "Fellows, we're home!"

Apollo flight number 13 turned-out, indeed, to be a lucky flight. For many, it was also NASA's finest hour.

Apollo 13 Commander Jim Lovell Reads About His Crew's Emergency Recovery, credit NASA-JSC.

Steve Durst

DOX32
Member

Posts: 203
From: Fairfax, VA USA
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 04-06-2010 07:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DOX32   Click Here to Email DOX32     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have the very same cover signed by all four from the NASA MAnned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club.

Notice Swigert signed at the bottom last. Also, this cover is show on your "Apollo Walks on the Moon", page 79. when will you publish it?

Steve, any idea how many of these were produced or where they were signed, as mine has the exact same style for each signature (all not autopens, and mine are different than these signature slightly?

Also, I have the same cover uncancelled but signed only by the original three, as
Swigert is not on that one!

stevedd841
Member

Posts: 164
From: millersville, maryland, usa
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 04-07-2010 03:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stevedd841   Click Here to Email stevedd841     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Woody, The information I have on this is from a member of the Space Unit residing in the Cape Canaveral area, and he comments, "It has always been my belief that the original crew with Mattingly did in fact sign similar or "same batch" of cachet envelopes BEFORE their moon voyage as Haise had 192 of them beforehand. His were NEVER processed nor cancelled for any mission." Later, I believe Haise's covers were used for a special anniversary event for Apollo 13.

Mattingly's covers and Lovell's covers and similar crew signed covers, if any, have never been seen. Continuing, he notes, "I think the MSCSC arranged to have a few given to certain club members, originally signed, with Swigert later added within a few weeks after their return to earth." So, it would seem you have one of each kind of these great covers!

DOX32
Member

Posts: 203
From: Fairfax, VA USA
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 04-08-2010 12:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DOX32   Click Here to Email DOX32     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Steve, thank you for the updated information. Any news on your WIP books?

stevedd841
Member

Posts: 164
From: millersville, maryland, usa
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 04-08-2010 08:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stevedd841   Click Here to Email stevedd841     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Woody, my apology for sidestepping your earlier question about my book. The book, "Project Mercury Points the Way," a 305 page book, displaying covers and chapters for precursor Project Mercury flights and each of Project Mercury's six manned space flights. The book will be issued on CD at the end of this month. Further information about obtaining the book will be available through the American Philatelic Society's and American Topical Society's Space Unit. If interested, please contact me separately for additional information.

DOX32
Member

Posts: 203
From: Fairfax, VA USA
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 04-09-2010 07:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DOX32   Click Here to Email DOX32     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Steve, thank you for the update, and, based on your the prepublication extracts, this is a a CD well worth ordering!

Joel Katzowitz
Member

Posts: 325
From: Marietta GA USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 04-10-2010 04:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joel Katzowitz   Click Here to Email Joel Katzowitz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can corroborate at least some of Steve's story.

In 2000 I played a small part in Fred Haise release of some of his personal cover collection for the Apollo 13 30th anniversary. These covers had not been previously processed but were subsequently cancelled on the liftoff anniversary date, April 11, 2000. Haise was concerned that someone might try to represent the covers as "flown" so I was asked to design a rubber stamp for the back of the envelope that read "Unflown cover from Fred Haise personal archive". There were at least three different cover examples and they were all signed by Lovell and Haise. I have a version of each in my collection.

I also have an unprocessed example of Steve's featured cover minus the Swigert signature.

stevedd841
Member

Posts: 164
From: millersville, maryland, usa
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 04-11-2010 08:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stevedd841   Click Here to Email stevedd841     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Joel, many thanks for adding what news commentator Paul Harvey would have called, "The rest of the story!"

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 1823
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 04-11-2010 01:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As Joel pointed out, there were three different Apollo 13 cachet cover types that were posted for the 30th anniversary of the aborted lunar landing mission.

The first cachet variety, a Bishop "insignia" crew-insurance printed envelope, consisted of only 4 covers.

A second variety, a CKM cachet version, had a total of 152 in the series.

There was a final cachet variety, depicting the MSCSC crew-insurance type, that consisted of 192 envelopes.

All of the covers were affixed with Apollo 8 6-cent and Apollo 11 "Man Walks on the Moon" 33-cent postage stamps with 1 of 2 hand-cancel types from KSC on the Apr. 11, 2000, launch anniversary date. The space stamps on them were provided by my firm. Each cover was also numbered in accordance to that cachet-type by my hand.

Joel's rubber stamp design was applied to each cover on the back envelope surface as an "unflown cover from Apollo 13, FRED HAISE, Lunar Module Pilot, Personal Archive."

Inside each cover was a printed 2-sided insert card provided by my firm in which all of the proceeds from the sale of the covers supported The Astronauts Memorial Foundation at the Kennedy Space Center and The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation in Titusville, FL.

All the cachet varieties were signed by Haise on May 5, 2000, in my home, and within 2-3 weeks were signed by Lovell.

Original Apollo 13 CMP Ken Mattingly was contacted by both Haise and Lovell in an attempt to have him sign the cover series as well. With him signing the covers along with his crewmates, Mattingly was going to complete the original named crew for Apollo 13 and represent, in memory, Jack Swigert. He turned down the offer and said that he wasn't a part of the flown crew.

To the best of my knowledge, most (if not all) of the special anniversary covers have already been sold by the sponsoring foundations.

Only Joel, myself, Sandy Clarkson, and Haise kept some of the original issues. It should certainly go without recognition that Sandy was the driving force behind the whole project along with Joel and Haise (and for Lovell's signing participation).

By the way, to help answer Steve's above question that started this topic, Al Worden did ask Lovell an important cover-question during the Apollo 13 anniversary dinner gala at Kenendy Space Center on April 9.

Worden asked Lovell if many of the crew-insurance covers left behind, which were already signed by Lovell/Haise/Mattingly, were later signed by Swigert.

I think the mission commander misunderstood Worden's question and remarked something like, "Oh yes, many photos were signed by all of us..." Hopefully the question would be asked again as I plan to do so.

stevedd841
Member

Posts: 164
From: millersville, maryland, usa
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 04-13-2010 04:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stevedd841   Click Here to Email stevedd841     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ken, many thanks for backfilling even more information concerning these crew-signed Apollo 13 covers and Joel and your role in helping to service Fred Haise's unpostmarked covers for Apollo 13's 30th anniversary. I am dying to find out the answer to Al Worden's question to Jim Lovell, so when you find out, please let us know!

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