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  Space Cover 64: Helios Official NASA Cachet

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 64: Helios Official NASA Cachet
Bob M
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Posts: 1367
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 07-04-2010 07:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 64 (July 4, 2010)

Space Cover #64, Helios Solar Probe Official cachet

This week's space cover is one of the least known of all the official NASA/KSC cachets and is one of the few NASA/KSC cachets to mark an unmanned launch and mission. It is also the next to last NASA/KSC cachet issued, coming between Skylab 3 (SL-4) in 1973 and ASTP in 1975.

Often overlooked as being an official NASA/KSC cachet, this small black rubber stamp cachet was applied to collectors' covers to mark the launch of the Helios-1 solar probe atop a Titan/Centaur launch vehicle on December 10, 1974.

The purpose of Helios-1, and its twin sister probe, Helios-2, launched on January 15, 1976, was to make pioneering measurements of the interplanetary medium between the Sun and the Earth, with a closest approach to the Sun's surface of 28 million miles.

The two covers shown here both display the typical small black NASA/KSC Helios cachet (the only NASA/KSC cachet officially applied in black ink) and a KSC machine cancel dated for the Helios-1 launch. The top cover also has an additional Cape Canaveral, FL hand stamp cancel for Helios-1's closest approach to the Sun on March 15, 1975.

The bottom cover is also a Helios-1 NASA/KSC cacheted launch cover and in addition also has a KSC hand stamp cancel dated January 15, 1976 for the launch of Helios-2.

Of note, a few dozen covers exist with the official Helios cachet but with only a March 15, 1975 Cape Canaveral, FL hand stamp cancel for the Helios-1 probe's closest approach to the Sun. Those few covers were cacheted but failed to be canceled as intended for launch. They were later taken to the Cape Canaveral post office for cancels marking Helios-1's closest approach to the Sun, resulting in covers with the official NASA/KSC Helios cachet, but with Cape Canaveral cancels instead of KSC cancels.

Covers with official NASA/KSC cachets, but with cancels other than KSC cancels are quite unusual. Anyone with such covers are welcome to contact us about them.

DOX32
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Posts: 203
From: Fairfax, VA USA
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 07-04-2010 09:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DOX32   Click Here to Email DOX32     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bob, is there an up to date catalogue for all the KSC cachets in including this one?

I have the Ralph Yorio 1971 1st edition 1971 catalogue, but it only goes to Apollo 14.

micropooz
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Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 07-04-2010 10:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Helios data is still being used today, 35 years later to design a new generation of solar probes (Solar Probe Plus, and Solar Orbiter)!

Bob M
Member

Posts: 1367
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 07-05-2010 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DOX32:
I have the Ralph Yorio 1971 1st edition 1971 catalogue, but it only goes to Apollo 14.
As far as we know, no update of Ralph Yorio's booklet has been produced, nor has anyone informed us of any website picturing all the official NASA/KSC cachets. But Ross Smith has done space cover collectors a great service in putting Ray Cartier's excellent award winning exhibit of all the NASA/KSC VIP Cards on the Space Unit Website.

eurospace
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Posts: 2275
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 07-08-2010 05:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Certainly not overlooked, John, but thanks for reminding us of this particular cachet.

Particular for me, mostly: the Helios satellite was a German satellite, and as a 17 year old high school student, the missions of those two satellites was the topic of my first exhibit on a youth stamp exhibition at the time. Must have been around 1976 or so. And it is still around somewhere in an old box...

Bob M
Member

Posts: 1367
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 07-08-2010 08:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
By stating in my article that these Helios covers are "often overlooked," it was indicated that these small, black (not the usual blue) Helios cachets are often overlooked as being official NASA/KSC cachets, and not overlooked as important space covers.

Yes, the Helios probes were German built and the Helios Program was a big space event at the time, with much interest and many covers and cachets produced. The 1970's were a great time for space covers and space cover collectors.

All times are CT (US)

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