Space Cover #117: A Unique Aussie Cover
Apollo 16 was launched on 16 April 1972 (17 April in Australia) and was tracked by a network of tracking stations around the world, including Australia. In addition, other stations were responsible for various communication links, while other organisations were associated with the Apollo program in various ways.
Australia played a vital role with its Carnarvon tracking station in the west and the Honeysuckle Creek/Tidbinbilla complex (one of three main tracking stations as part of NASA's Deep Space Network) in the east. In addition, a number of stations such as NASA's Communication Network in Canberra and various OTC (Overseas Telecommunication Centre) stations handled the communication side of things.
The unique cover illustrated above was postmarked at Woomera, location of Australia's first tracking station. In addition, it was taken to 14 other centres including the two main tracking stations, which added their cachets and signatures to the cover to make a truely wonderful memento of Australia's participation in Apollo 16.
To give readers, who are not familar with Australia, an idea of the distances involved in creating this cover, Australia is approximately the same size as the USA. Thus, going from Carnarvon (top left cachet) to Tidbinbilla (second from the right, top row) is equivalent to going from the West coast of the US to the East coast!
I bought this cover many years ago from Jack Koch of Bay Stamps who was a major dealer in Space covers in Australia (amongst other areas). He also produced the majority of Aussie Space covers from the 60s until his death in the 90s. I paid $75 for the cover which was quite a lot at the time. I don't know if Jack produced the cover or somebody else. However, I believe all the cachets were obtained during the actual Apollo 16 mission.
I hope you enjoyed my cover.
If you would like to see a higher resolution scan click here.