Space Cover #103: Distinct USS Okinawa Cover
There are many different cachets for the various recovery ships with the most common being the Morris Beck printed cachets and the rubber stamp cachets that Morris sent to the Navy for use by the recovery ships. There are also a number of different rubber stamp and printed cachets that were also cancelled aboard the recovery ships such as the NASA Exchange envelopes with the mission logos or Bob Ekas' rubber stamp cachets. Today's scan is not to show a specific cachet but to show a different envelope.
This Apollo 15 recovery ship cover cancelled with the USS Okinawa cancel with the name on top with the normal "Navy" rubber stamp cachet is on a hand-made envelope made from an orbital tracking map. NASA produced and sent out copies of the orbital tracking maps and these were cut and folded into an envelope before being sent for the recovery cancel. The only address on it is "Seabrook, Tex 77586" so I am thinking this was done by a dealer (Rand Philatelics?) or one of the area stamp clubs. If so where are all the other ones made?
The earliest "tracking envelope" covers I am aware of were done by the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Stamp Club as a set of three covers for the Apollo 12 mission. The latest are ones from a couple of the early shuttle missions with the front of the cover having the part of the orbital map showing Edwards, California where the cover was cancelled for the date of the shuttle landing at Edwards Air Force Base.
These tend to be popular covers to collect as they are truly a NASA based envelope so if you find one...