Space Cover #83, Flown SRB Parachute Test Cover
This space cover of the week comes to you through the efforts of Stan Henderson who was a space cover dealer in the mid to late 1970's.
In August 1977, Robert Rank of Space Voyage covers notified Stan that he had made contact with someone at the National Parachute Range in El Centro, Ca. to possibly carry some covers on the B-52 that was going to make the parachute test drops.
To make a long story short, on January 25, 1978, Stan received the covers in a USPS penalty envelope from the El Centro, Ca. post office with the December 14, 1977 date on the covers. The covers looked as if the USPS had all but destroyed them. They were so wrinkled that they appeared to be beny like an accordion.
The covers were flown on the B-52 and were actually on the solid rocket booster when the main drogue parachute failed to open at 25,000 feet when it dropped from the B-52 for the test.They fell with the solid rocket booster from 25,000 feet to earth and were buried 20-30 feet deep in the ground and had to be dug up. When the solid rocket booster was opened up, the covers were in the condition Stan received them in as a result of the crushed condition of the booster.
Martin Marietta felt so bad about damaging the covers they printed a special enclosure to explain the damage, but did not actually say they were onboard the booster but they were.
It is estimated there were less than 200 covers onboard and is to my knowledge the first covers to be carried on any of the tests to be damaged in testing space shuttle components.
A scan of the Martin Marietts enclosure is shown.