Space Cover #128: Double Cancels
One of my favorite aspects of collecting space covers is to obtain multiple postmarks on the same cover.
The most common of these double cancel covers are those with both launch and landing postmarks for a mission on the same envelope. Illustrated is an STS-135 cover with the crew mission patch cachet hand cancelled at the Kennedy Space Center on July 8 and July 21. I obtained the cacheted envelope from Ken Havekotte prior to the mission and sent it before launch to the KSC Post Office with a return envelope. I received it back with the July 8 cancel a few days after launch and in time to send it back again the KSC Post Office before the July 21 landing.
Other double cancel covers can be more challenging. STS-135 was the last flight of space shuttle Atlantis. I decided to make a cover representing the entire life span of Atlantis in space. I found a cover in my collection from the first launch of Atlantis on October 3, 1985. I added a recent stamp and sent it for a KSC postmark on Atlantis' final landing on July 21, 2011. Thus, this cover is a record of Atlantis' journey over nearly 25 years.
STS-135 was also the last mission of the space shuttle program. I marked this by sending in a STS-1 launch cover from April 12, 1981 (the start of the shuttle flights) to be postmarked for the landing of Atlantis (the end of the shuttle flights).
Coming up with appropriate ideas for double cancels can be interesting; I'll have a few more in another post.