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  Space Cover 76: Scatback the Space Monkey

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 76: Scatback the Space Monkey

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

posted 09-26-2010 06:37 AM     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 76 (September 26, 2010)

George Goldey launch cover for Scatback the monkey flight, cancelled December 19, 1961, PM, Port Canaveral, Florida. This space monkey cover from 1961 is considered by many space cover collectors to be the rarest space monkey cover to find.

Space Cover #76: Scatback the Space Monkey, Rarest of the Space Monkey Covers?

The first American long-range ballistic missile, the Atlas ICBM, was developed by the U.S. Air Force in 1954. Originally an ICBM, the Atlas was later used as a launch vehicle for low orbit flights including the flights of Project Mercury.

The first Atlas A flight was launched on June 11, 1957, at Cape Canaveral, Florida. By 1959, 33,000 personnel were working on this national priority missile. The missile had a thrust of 360,000 pounds and quickly evolved through different rocket configurations including Atlas A, Atlas B, Atlas C, Atlas D (the first operational model), Atlas E, and Atlas F.

By 1966 after only a few years of service, it became obsolete with unused missiles being stored, later reworked, and eventually used as space launch vehicles. The last Atlas missile was flown in 1999, completing a span of forty-two years for use of the Atlas missile.

The one-hundredth Atlas missile to be launched, Atlas 32D, thundered away on November 10, 1961, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on a routine flight, but this one was a special flight with a one and a half pound squirrel monkey, Goliath, as its onboard passenger. With the missile failing to maintain its planned trajectory, the flight’s Range Safety Officer was forced to destroy the Atlas only 50 seconds after liftoff.

Five weeks later, Atlas 6E, was poised on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to launch a second monkey, a four pound rhesus monkey named Scatback. The flight's mission was designed to obtain information for a reentry from space more severe than an astronaut would safely be able to withstand. While the launch and mission went as planned, the capsule and its small monkeynaut, Scatback, were lost at sea, late in the evening, December 19, 1961.

Carl Swanson rubber-stamped cachet cover for Scatback the Space Monkey, machine cancelled 7:00 AM, December 20, 1961. Date is the morning after the previous day's late night flight from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

As shown above, there are space covers for the flight of Scatback in Atlas 6E cancelled on both December 19, 1961, and also on December 20, 1961. A Scatback monkey cover for either date is considered valid. Even with this latitude for the launch date, the Scatback the space monkey cover is missing from many space cover collections. Many experienced space cover collectors consider it the rarest of the space monkey covers to find. Yes, it is that rare!

Do you have a Scatback the space monkey cover?

Steve Durst, SU 4379


Posts: 373
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 09-26-2010 08:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Steve, nice covers. I thought members would like to know that there is a very nice Scatback cover in the upcoming Regency Superior auction. It's lot 138 with an estimate of $1000-$1500. Unlike Steve's PAFB cover, this particular PAFB cover is dated on the 19th.

The auction starts on 1 October so you need to get an pre-auction bids in quickly.

Good luck to any bidders.

Eddie Bizub

Posts: 32
From: Kissimmee, FL USA
Registered: Aug 2010

posted 09-26-2010 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Eddie Bizub   Click Here to Email Eddie Bizub     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Steve, yes, nice covers! While I do not have the Scatback Goldey I do have the Swanson PAFB cover. In fact, mine is almost identical to the one you posted here... even with the black line through the word "Missile". I got mine from Jane Beville many years ago. In all my years of collection its the only one I have ever seen.

Eddie, SU 3401


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

posted 09-28-2010 07:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DOX32   Click Here to Email DOX32     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Be cautious on the Regency Superior Lot 138 as it is a paste over of the of the Minuteman flight DEC 18 11:04 am, that was postmarked DEC 19 1961 9 AM.

The actual rubber stamped Patrick AFB is dated DEC 20 1961 with 7 am postmark as shown by Steve above.

I have both covers but without the rubber stamped Monkey (RS LOT 138) or the Red Scatback label. No black line through MISSLE on mine (looks like a post office cancel left over).

Does anyone have a Monkey rubber stamp I could apply to both??

Oh well, I like the Goldey that Steve posted in this thread!


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