Space Cover #195: Covers flown on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, NASA 905
With the recent retirement of the workhorse Boeing 747, Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), NASA 905, I thought it appropriate to show some covers from early in its career. First, here's a very brief history of SCA/NASA 905: It was acquired by NASA from American Airlines in 1974, and finished its career in 2012 by delivering three Space Shuttle Orbiters, Enterprise, Discovery and Endeavour, to their final resting places. NASA 905 began its work by serving as the air-launch platform for the Enterprise ALT flights in 1977; flew 70 of the 87 orbiter ferry flights during the operatioinal stage of the Space Shuttle Program; and ended with its orbiter museum delivery flights. In all, it took off and landed more than 6,300 times and will now spend its old-age retirement years in Houston.
The top three covers were flown on the SCA on December 2, 1976 on its first test flight with interior modifications completed. The top cover is a collector-prepared flown cover with pilot documentation supplied; the middle cover a Robert Rank Space Voyage flown cover; and the bottom cover from the Boeing Employees Stamp Club with a stuffer card inside supplying documentating information
The next covers were flown one day apart in January 1977, with both being flown at Seattle/Boeing Field by Chief Boeing pilot Paul Bennett.
The last two covers were flown in the SCA on its acceptance flight from Boeing/Seattle to NASA/Edwards AFB in preparation for the Enterprise ALT Program. The top cover is another Rank Space Voyage cover (indicating it's #805 of 1050 flown), with the bottom cover being a Stan Henderson/3-Muscateers cover also flown on that flight. It would be interesting to learn how so many dealers' covers were flown on the SCA, but no such information is known to this collector.