Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Stamps & Covers
  Space Cover 138: Edwards Rocket Test Site

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Space Cover 138: Edwards Rocket Test Site
micropooz
Member

Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 12-04-2011 11:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 138 (December 4, 2011)

Space Cover #138: Edwards Rocket Test Site Postmarks

Last week a fellow collector e-mailed me with a question about a cover postmarked at the Edwards, Calif., Rocket Test Site Br., on February 14, 1961. He was curious about what space-related event may have happened that day at Edwards, AFB. Unfortunately, I did not know. So that inspired me to make Edwards Rocket Test Site postmarked covers the SCOTW for this week!

The Edwards Rocket Test Site was established on Luehman Ridge, about 12 miles east of the main base and 6 miles South of Boron, CA., to static test the Air Force's rapidly growing array of missile engines in the late 1950's. Engines for the Atlas, Thor, and Minuteman missiles were tested there. I have seen some reference to testing of the Saturn 5's F-1 first stage engine there, but could not find specifics.

On July 20, 1959, a branch of the Edwards AFB Post Office was opened there, which hand-cancelled its mail with the "Edwards, Calif., Rocket Test Site Br." postmark (see cover at top, first day of service). The branch was discontinued on July 1, 1972 (see middle cover, last day of service). Some cover servicers sought out Rocket Test Site postmarks to commemorate events, including Clyde Sarzin, who had a special cachet for these postmarks (bottom cover).

Now, the problem is that a log of the firings performed at the Rocket Test Site has not been published. So, many of the Rocket Test Site covers that were postmarked for firings cannot be correlated to the event for which they were postmarked. There are several of these cover dates that correspond to X-15 flight aborts back at Edwards' main base (I typed that note in on the Sarzin cover above). But they were more likely postmarked for a missile engine test, and the X-15 abort that day just happened to be a coincidence. The last time I was at Edwards combing through their archives, I asked the historian about a log of missile engine tests. He replied that if one existed, it would be over at the rocket test site. Unfortunately, I could not drive over there that day.

So, the question for this astute group is — does anyone have a log of missile engine test firings at the Edwards Rocket Test Site? It would sure help those of us with covers from there...

Bob M
Member

Posts: 1367
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 12-07-2011 10:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Years ago I was told that the Edwards, CA "Rocket Test Site Br." hand stamp cancels were fairly scarce and I haven't seen many in all my years of collecting. But in Dennis' interesting article, he states that the "Rocket Site" HC was in use for about 13 years, so I would think that they would be seen fairly often. And I would also think that they would have been very appropriate and popular to have applied to covers for the X-15 flights, but I sure don't remember seeing many.

Years ago I acquired a "Rocket Site" canceled cover dated March 28, 1961, and had Scott Crossfield autograph it but have not taken time to learn what event it was for.

Also for space cancel collectors, I've heard that this cancel, and only one other, have the word "Rocket" in it. That would be "Rocket City, FL," which has probably been long-since discontinued.

bobslittlebro
Member

Posts: 94
From: Douglasville, Ga U.S.A.
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 12-11-2011 02:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great info Pooz. Let me know if you get response about the test firings. I got one from you a couple of years ago that is not an X-15 date.

micropooz
Member

Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 12-11-2011 04:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the kind words, Tim and Bob! No response so far. I guess I am just going to have to go to Edwards and do some digging...it's a tough job, but someone has to do it!

micropooz
Member

Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 12-14-2011 06:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting photo of an F-1 engine test (eBay) at the Edwards Rocket Test Site.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement