Space Cover #174: Viking: 36 Years before Curiosity
With the spectacular success and landing on Mars of the MSL Curiosity rover on August 6, now would be an appropriate time to present more covers for Viking 1 and 2, the first two successful landings on Mars 36 years earlier. Previously John (SCOTW #125) and I (SCOTW #126) have presented a number of Viking covers and cachets, but the great success of Curiosity has inspired me to post more Viking covers, including a cover signed by 17 top Viking scientists.
The top cover above is a Robert Rank/Space Voyage cover marking the first of four Viking Parachute Qualification Tests at White Sands, NM in 1972. The bottom cover is a Bob Whitney rubber stamp cacheted cover marking the launch and failure of the first Titan III-Centaur combination, intended as a test "proof flight" for the later launches of the Vikings to Mars.
Top cover: Viking 1 dual launch and Mars landing cover, NASA/KSC Exchange cover. Bottom cover: JPL Stamp Club cover for Viking 2 KSC launch, and Mars landing, canceled at Pasadena, CA, JPL Mission Control.
Top cover: Viking A/1 official NASA/KSC cacheted cover, canceled for both the Viking A and B launches. Bottom cover: Viking B/2 official NASA/KSC cacheted cover, canceled at KSC for Viking 2 launch, and Pasadena, CA, for Mars orbit insertion and landing.
Top cover: postmarked at Pasadena, CA, with a red Langley Research Center rubber stamp cachet, for Viking 1 and Viking 2 Mars landings. Bottom cover: located inside the Jet Propusion Laborory, JPL, at the time of the Viking 1 landing (and later canceled for the Viking 2 launch) and signed by 17 Viking Science Team members, including Gentry Lee, Harold Masursky, Tobias Owen and Thomas A. "Tim" Mutch (The Viking Lander Imaging Team Leader, who was lost while desending Mt. Nun in the Himalalayas in 1980, and in tribute, the Viking 1 lander was named the Thomas A. Mutch Memorial Station).