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  Philatelic covers flown on unmanned space projects

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Author Topic:   Philatelic covers flown on unmanned space projects
cosmos-walter
Member

Posts: 506
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 08-03-2012 08:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This cover was sold as being flown on board Foton-9 by Goede company from Aschaffenburg, Germany. Unfortunately they did not answer my request for further information. Do you think, it actually flew on this mission?

Moreover, I am looking for information on covers flown on other unmanned space projects. Is anybody of you aware of any proof they actually flew into space (this means: higher than 100 km according to FIA rules) or surrounded earth, respectively?

Any thoughts and information are welcome.

eurospace
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Posts: 2407
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 08-04-2012 08:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Chinese flew quite a few covers on their unmanned return capsules over the years. Usually impeccably documented with a notarial certificate.

Tom
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Posts: 1398
From: New York
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 08-05-2012 08:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I remember correctly, weren't covers flown on ATV-3 and returned to earth on Dragon recently?

cosmos-walter
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Posts: 506
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 11-02-2012 04:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Russian re-entering scientific satellite Foton-9 was launched from Cosmodrome Plesetsk on 6/14/1994. Dealer Michael Goede from Aschaffenburg, Germany sold covers as being flown with Foton-9. Although Plesetsk is in the northern part of Russia, they have Kasakh stamps. Are these covers actually flown into space?

Jim Behling
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Posts: 813
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 11-02-2012 12:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cosmos-walter:
Is anybody of you aware of any proof they actually flew into space (this means: higher than 100 km according to FIA rules) or surrounded earth, respectively?
Why would this be any different than a manned mission? What makes a COA from a manned mission any more valid than one from a unmanned mission?

cosmos-walter
Member

Posts: 506
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 11-03-2012 04:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Mail from manned missions is well explored.

We know the covers, astronauts took to the Moon with Apollo missions. Beginning with Apollo 17 it has been forbidden to astronauts to take covers with Apollo or space shuttles into space.

Beginning with Salyut-6 cosmonauts have postmarks and other cachets on board space stations. These cancellation allow that space mail can be examined by specialized stamp experts. Their expertise is even more reliable than a COA issued by an involved cosmonaut, who might overlook a good fake.
Chinese space mail has a notary's dry seal and is accompanied by a certificate issued by this notary.

There are much more unmanned than manned space missions. Most likely some of them carried mail without me being aware of this.

Fakes of both manned and unmanned space mail exist. If I have a question regarding the authenticity of manned space mail, I easily can asked an involved cosmonaut. As for unmanned project it usually is much more difficult to find out somebody who has the knowledge and freely discusses this matter with an unknown collector from Austria.

Jim Behling
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Posts: 813
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 11-03-2012 06:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cosmos-walter:
These cancellation allow that space mail
So what makes cancelled mail more valuable than uncancelled if they both flew in space? Also, what says that the cancellation was done in space?

cosmos-walter
Member

Posts: 506
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 11-03-2012 07:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For stamp collectors an official postmark issued by Soviet, Russian, US or French postal service significantly increases the value of a space mail cover.

Cancellation devices which were used on board a space station only are a better prove that the item was on board than every COA.

Moreover, some cosmonauts photograph their mail floating in ISS.

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 813
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 11-03-2012 08:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cosmos-walter:
For stamp collectors an official postmark issued by Soviet, Russian, US or French postal service significantly increases the value of a space mail cover.
Which is meaningless when it comes to proof of flight.
quote:
Originally posted by cosmos-walter:
Cancellation devices which were used on board a space station only are a better prove that the item was on board than every COA.

That doesn't prove they were flown. They can be cancelled pre or post flight.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 32582
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-03-2012 08:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Soviet Union, and now the Russian Federation, have established post offices on the space stations that their cosmonauts have staffed and occupied, to the point of creating unique cancellation devices (ink stampers) that are only used in space. Officially, the postmark by definition proves the item was in space.

It's because of that that the cancellation has been used on many more items than just mail. Patches, books, and even sneakers have been marked with the stamp in space to signify that they have flown.

fimych
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Posts: 18
From: Boston MA, USA
Registered: Jun 2015

posted 06-17-2015 09:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fimych   Click Here to Email fimych     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regarding Foton-9, although I have not found any notice of the flown covers in the Russian sources, but this was in 1994 (dark years for Russia) and most satellites were sponsored by European agencies. So, in theory they could arrange a package of covers in their respective payload, the only issue is money. It is exactly, how it is done today. But one strange thing, they did not invent special cancellation for this project (unlike Resurs 500). But we can only guess.

Another option (more likely) - these covers were present in Plesetsk during the launch and have not gone to space. The same story occurs with many covers, cancelled on Baykonur for example with Soyuz, Salut, MIR, ISS cancellations, but do not have any board stamp. Many are sold as "flown in space" with great stories from the dealers.

Example of real ISS vs. Baykonur cover. Both having "55 years of Sputnik, ISS, 10100" – cancellation and both sold by dealers as "flown."

cosmos-walter
Member

Posts: 506
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 06-21-2015 01:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the meantime I contacted Kaiser-Threde, a company involved in space. They sent me a press information stating among other details that stamps, coins and phone cards were flown with Foton-9. Thus I believe, only the stamps were flown. The postmark was added three months after landing.

fimych
Member

Posts: 18
From: Boston MA, USA
Registered: Jun 2015

posted 06-21-2015 01:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fimych   Click Here to Email fimych     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So in this case, this are just commemorative covers.

cosmos-walter
Member

Posts: 506
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 06-21-2015 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Most likely. Unfortunately neither Goede company nor Kaiser-Threde could remember (or find any documents), whether only the stamps or covers with stamps on them were flown.

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