A cover from German publishing company S. Fischer Verlag to Professor E. Colwell, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, is pictured, with the cover canceled June 1, 1953, Frankfurt am Main, West Germany. The striking machine cancel shown on the cover mailed in 1953 pictures a Wernher von Braun designed cargo rocket in space, high above the Pacific Ocean, staging and enroute to a future space station in Earth orbit. Above the cover's machine cancel is the remark, "Station im Weltraum," or, "Station in Space." Steve Durst, SU 4379
Space Cover #166: Early Space Station Related Postmark, 1953
A remarkable international mail cover mailed from Frankfurt am Main, West Germany, to Atlanta Georgia, June 1, 1953, is this week's Space Cover of the Week. The cover is startling and remarkable, in that the concept of spaceflight and a space station in Earth orbit populated by astronauts had appeared just 15 months earlier in the March 1952 issue of Collier's magazine. This dedicated issue of Collier's magazine advanced, "Man will Conquer Space Soon," on the front cover of the magazine. This cargo rocket in space, casting off its spent rocket stage, enroute to a space station in Earth orbit was included in the Collier's article.
Wernher von Braun, Director of the Development Operations Division of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, at the Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama, had worked with Collier's artist, Chesley Bonestell, on illustrating a series of space articles for the magazine. Von Braun provided detailed engineering drawings of his fantastic spaceships and futuristic concepts of astronauts not only traveling in and exploring space, but also working and living in space. Aside from his work with the U.S. Army, von Braun in his work with Bonestell further described realistic lunar and planetary landscapes as they would be seen by astronauts in space in the not too distant future. Bonestell working closely with von Braun brought his ideas to life. Through Collier's magazine and additional space themed issues of the popular magazine, the American public agreed. Space would indeed be conquered soon!
Walt Disney, a California businessman, was impressed. Disney asked von Braun to work with his engineers to assist in designing Tomorrowland at Disneyland, a major section of his futuristic entertainment theme park devoted to space and being built in Anaheim, California. Disney also asked von Braun to work with his staff to produce a television special about space entitled, "Man in Space," to appear on Disney's national television show, "The Wonderful World of Disney." Disney's space television special was a smash hit and was watched by an estimated 42 million Americans, March 9, 1955.
Von Braun's view of America's future in space, as presented in Collier's and showcased by Walt Disney on television, was visionary in scope and defined in exacting detail what would become the new United States space program's objectives. Von Braun's objectives foretold powerful rocketships, the accomplishment of lunar and space exploration, and the actuality of a space station with people living and working in space, together.
The cover mailed from Frankfurt am Main, West Germany, to Atlanta, Georgia, is prescient in its view of space exploration that would come soon, as prophesized by space visionaries, the ABMA's Wernher von Braun and Collier's Chesley Bonestell.
Walt Disney is shown with Wernher von Braun during discussion of von Braun's work to be highlighted on Disney's television special, "Man in Space," to appear on the "Wonderful World of Disney", on national American television, March 9, 1955. The smash hit television special would be viewed by 42 million television viewers.