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  Space Cover 63: MSFC Skylab & ASTP RSCs

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 63: MSFC Skylab & ASTP RSCs

Posts: 868
From: Shady Side, Md
Registered: Sep 2004

posted 06-26-2010 07:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo-Soyuz   Click Here to Email Apollo-Soyuz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 63 (June 27, 2010)

Space Cover #63, Marshall Space Flight Center Skylab and ASTP rubber stamp cachets

With the launch of the unmanned Skylab space station, a new rubber stamp cachet appeared for the first time on covers returned from the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). Covers previously sent to this facility during Apollo had all been returned without any cachets in addition to the postmark.

The primary mission of MSFC was the development of the Saturn family of launch vehicles used in the Apollo manned lunar landing program. It was because of this relationship with the Saturn rockets that covers were sent to MSFC for processing on launch dates for commemorative cancellations.

The Public Affairs Officer Amos Crisp said "we [MSFC] wrote into the plan the servicing of collector's covers for each of the Skylab launches." Mr. Crisp advised that for the last two missions, one solar panel was cut away to better reflect the configuration of the actual space station. Based on this information, the four Skylab rubber stamp cachets were created by the MSFC Graphics Department, on MSFC time and with MSFC funding. Therefore they met the criteria of being "official" cachets just like the KSC Officials.

The format of the MSFC cachet for the ASTP launch resembles the Skylab cachets. The format of the MSFC cachet on ASTP landing covers and bears little resemblance to its glamorous Skylab and ASTP launch counterparts. It is unquestionably an official MSFC rubber stamp, it was applied by the MSFC PAO people on outgoing mail items and its use on the ASTP landing cover arguably identifies it as an official MSFC for the ASTP landing.

The use of the little MSFC RSC on ASTP landing covers leads one to surmise that the MSFC PAO crew simply did not have sufficient time to design and produce a more elaborate cachet similar to that used on the ASTP launch cover. If such assumed circumstances were true, the little MSFC RSC was most probably pressed into "emergency" service to avoid disappointing those collectors who had submitted covers for the MSFC landing cancel and cachet.


Posts: 933
From: South Bend, IN United States of America
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 06-28-2010 08:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When these "cachets" were first announced, they quickly became my (as well as many, many other collectors) favorite "must have" cachets of the day, especially since they had that "official" air (like KSC cachets) about them.

Each one was spectacular.

I don't think I ever saw the ASTP one until now. I think that I did send some envelopes in just to get cachets stamped on blanks for future use, and then used some of them for FDCs of the Skylab stamp. But I will have to check "the pile" to confirm that!

Thanks for the memories!

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