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  Covers flown with RSM-54 ballistic rocket (2007)

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Author Topic:   Covers flown with RSM-54 ballistic rocket (2007)
cosmos-walter
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Posts: 511
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 01-12-2013 11:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Covers were sold as being flown with Russian RSM-54 ballistic rocket on Dec. 17, 2007. They are commemorating the 50th anniversary of Sputnik flight.

According to accompanying papers they were launched from a Russian atomic submarine. Does anybody of you know the name of this submarine?

Ken Havekotte
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From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 01-12-2013 01:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can it be the same Russian sub, named Murena, that had been used on prior sub-orbital RCM/RSM-40 missile launch "space mail" projects off the coast of the Kula peninsula in Northern Europe?

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

posted 01-12-2013 02:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On December 17, 2007 a RSM-54 rocket was launched from submarine K-114 Tula at Barents Sea.

I have some doubts, this rocket actually carried covers. Thus I wonder, which submarine is given in the COAs coming with these covers.

Ken Havekotte
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From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 01-12-2013 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Walter, I know similar sub-rocket launched/flown covers were produced by the Russian Federal Rocket Research Center, "Makeyeu," along with partnership with the Russian Polar Association and philatelic dealer Carsten Fuchs in 1997 and again in 2000 for the New Millennium.

Perhaps the 2007 sub-rocket firing is the same as the above?

cosmos-walter
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Posts: 511
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 01-12-2013 03:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ken, you are right: Similar covers or stamps exist from the following dates:

04.10.1997RSM-4040. anniversary of Sputnik
31.12.1999RSM-40MTrans-Millennium-Rocket
12.04.2001RSM-5040. anniversary of Vostok
15.10.2003RSM-5225. anniversary of Soyuz 31
05.07.2005RSM-505 years ISS
17.12.2007RSM-5450. anniversary of Sputnik
29.06.2011RSM-5450. anniversary of Vostok

Here I only found one R-29 launch from Barents Sea, which could match. This is the 17.12.2007.

cosmos-walter
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Posts: 511
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 01-13-2013 04:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Letters or stamps from these flights are accompanied by similar documentation. In my opinion all seven rockets carried philatelic items - or none.

Jonathan McDowell provides a list of all suborbital rocket launches.

NASAspaceflight has a forum on suborbital launches that corresponds with Jonathan's list.

Ken Havekotte
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Posts: 2124
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 01-13-2013 04:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Walter, I have a few of the above noted covers and stamps with "carried/flown" documentation.

But are you saying there may be a chance that all of those listed did not carry nor have any philatelic items aboard? Are there any other sources that may prove one way or another?

cosmos-walter
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Posts: 511
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 01-13-2013 06:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ken, I also have a few of the above noted covers and stamps with "carried/flown" documentation. I never doubted they were flown into space.

During my research for a catalogue on "Pioneer Rocket Mail and Space Mail" I looked for these launches in Internet. Only for 12/17/2007 I found a rocket launch from a Russian submarine at Barents Sea.

As by now I did not receive any answer to questions I addressed to Russian Federal Rocket Research Center Makeyev and to somebody connected with Duma.

As you can see on NASAspaceflight, Russia proudly announces their successful test rocket flights from submarines. On the other hand it is unlikely NORAD missed at least 6 Russian rocket launches reaching a height of 1200 km.

Perhaps some cS'ers might help us proving one way or another.

By the side: On 06/06/1995 a converted RSM-50 rocket successfully carried philatelic covers: TKM-Wolna, Experiment Elrabek. Russian friends collecting astrophilately told me this was the only sounding rocket built by rocket research center Makeyev which carried mail.

fimych
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From: Boston MA, USA
Registered: Jun 2015

posted 06-17-2015 10:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fimych   Click Here to Email fimych     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, the ICBM covers issue is problematic, as most such launches are done for money to particular people, therefore the questions for Duma and OKB are not relevant. Only the first couple of launches got Makeev OKB certificate - they where sponsored by Europe. Millennium project went further - it has a Duma certificate from Chilingarov office. All other launches went as private venture (like ATV initiative from Lollini). I talked to a respective dealer re details of such projects - it is really commercial propositions for military tops. Same as letters that Russian cosmonauts take.

By the way, recently got a couple of covers of the military RSM-54 launch from K-84 Ekaterinburg submarine in 2006. I believe this are the first explicitly dedicated to a combat platform.

fimych
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Posts: 23
From: Boston MA, USA
Registered: Jun 2015

posted 06-18-2015 11:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fimych   Click Here to Email fimych     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I made some research about known launches of the rocket mail on RSM 40, 50 and 54 (R-29 and R-39 ICBMs); they correspond to the date listed in the Launch Vehicle Database example. There are some confirmations of such launches in Russian military fleet sources (at least for the 1995 and 1997).

The only white spot is Millennium project. First, no launch of any ICBM registered for Dec 31, 1999. Second, almost all Murena class subs were decommissioned during 1999, the last one, K-447 Kislovodsk was phased out from the Northern Fleet and remained non-active till 2004, awaiting to be converted to a transport sub. The project got no budget and the sub was scrapped. In any case, it made no launches since 1998. Third, RSM-40 (R-29D) were phased out with the subs and replaced by RSM-50 (R-29R). Fourth, there is no mention in Russian sources not for Dec. 31 Launch, nor for the Trans-Millennium project. The last strange thing, the Decree of Vice Chairman of State Duma to launch the missile. All launches of ballistic missiles in Russia are done only by a signed decree from the President of Russian Federation.

So three thoughts come to mind:

  1. there was a launch with commercial payload, but not on Dec. 31, 1999.
  2. there was a launch, but not from Russian sub and possibly colleagues can shade some light
  3. The whole story is a fancy fake.

cvrlvr99
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From: Arlington, TX USA
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posted 06-20-2015 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cvrlvr99   Click Here to Email cvrlvr99     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I researched this for a 1997 cover that I recently obtained. Here is what I found. From Interfax (Jan. 15, 1997):
A Russian nuclear submarine Wednesday successfully fired an RCM-50 ballistic missile from the Barents Sea to a test site on the Pacific Kamchatka Peninsula. The Kalmar (Squid) class sub commanded by Captain Sergey Smirnov carried out the launch as part of a regular test of nuclear missile systems. The Navy said the missile warhead hit the Kamchatka target on time. The Navy last year regularly tested its sea-based missiles from strategic subs in its Arctic and Pacific fleets. Tests showed the crews' high level of battle training "to carry out orders to provide a reliable shield for Russia's sovereignty and security," its press center said. "The successful tests also show the high level of technical reliability of the sea-based missiles at the disposal of the Navy," the press service stressed.
And from Wikipedia: The Delta class Project 667BDR "Kalmar" type of submarine which was the third in the four types of backbone of the Soviet and Russian strategic submarine fleet since its introduction in 1973. They carry nuclear ballistic missiles of the R-29 Vysota family, with the Delta III carrying the R-29 (NATO reporting name: SS-N-18 'Stingray'). The Delta III and IV carry 16 missiles with multiple warheads and have improved electronics and noise reduction.

The Deltas were superseded by the larger Typhoon class submarines. The early Deltas remained in service until the 1990s with treaties such as START I. High running costs and the retirement of the Typhoons′ R-39 missiles meant that some Delta III's were reactivated in the 2000s (decade) to replace the Typhoons.

In December 2010 Pavel Podvig and russianforces.org estimated the strength of the Russian strategic submarine fleet at one Typhoon class submarine (used to test the R-30 Bulava missile), four Delta III, and six Delta IV class submarines, and one Borei. They will ultimately be replaced by the new Borei class submarines (also known as the Dolgorukiy class).

fimych
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From: Boston MA, USA
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posted 06-20-2015 12:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fimych   Click Here to Email fimych     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Please look at the cover you are talking about — the date on the front big rubber stamp is 04.10.97. The actual launch was Oct. 3 from the K-447 Kislovodsk (667B project) with the payload of souvenirs to commemorate 50th anniversary of Makeev bureau (and 40th anniversary of Sputnik). This is confirmed by Russian fleet sources.

cosmos-walter
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posted 06-21-2015 01:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On 15.10.2003 a Shtil rocket was launched from "BELA" which means White Sea Launch Area, Beloye More, Archangel'sk Oblast. On 17.12.2007 a military RSM-54 was launched from the nuclear submarine K-114 / Tula. I still cannot find any other rocket launch matching with data of the "space flown rocket covers."

I asked SMC Design Bureau named after V. P. Makeev about covers flown on board 17.12.2007 rocket. Danilkin V.A. answered my mail: "OAO "Academician V.P.Makeyev State Rocket Centre" did not performed any actions on launching and recovery of envelopes on 17th December, 2007 on board a RSM-54."

fimych
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From: Boston MA, USA
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posted 06-21-2015 01:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fimych   Click Here to Email fimych     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think that you are mixing the dates. The launch was on 3.10.1997. In the launch vehicles database is registered launch of Topol on this date, but it can be a misprint.

cosmos-walter
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Posts: 511
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 06-21-2015 02:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by fimych:
recently got a couple of covers of the military RSM-54 launch from K-84 Ekaterinburg submarine in 2006. I believe this are the first explicitly dedicated to a combat platform.

Please, send me a scan, if these are rocket-flown covers

fimych
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From: Boston MA, USA
Registered: Jun 2015

posted 06-21-2015 02:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fimych   Click Here to Email fimych     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No, these are not rocket flown, just interesting with the submarine cancellations and first officers signatures.

cosmos-walter
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Posts: 511
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 06-21-2015 02:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a Russian souvenir sheet commemorating the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's space flight with two certificates stating it was flown with a RSM-54 rocket on 29.06.2011.

None of them has a file number. The seal of SMC Design Bureau named after V. P. Makeev does not have the number of organisation as required in Russia. A Russian state company hardly would include the circled R for copyright in their seal. Moreover, why should they issue a certificate for a project they are not involved in?

These facts lead to conclusion that only RSM-50 rocket TKM-Wolna transported letters on 06.06.1995.

fimych
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From: Boston MA, USA
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posted 06-21-2015 02:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fimych   Click Here to Email fimych     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not sure what you are talking about, but meanwhile, it looks that only Volna project is 100% proven.

fimych
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From: Boston MA, USA
Registered: Jun 2015

posted 06-21-2015 06:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fimych   Click Here to Email fimych     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Walter, just got a reply from Russian collector forum - this is a fake from a German company. They signed contract for a ICBM launch in 90s, whole inventory was packed into containers inside the missile and all the certificates were issued. The launch was cancelled for some reason, but the company sold all the package as genuine. After that, they tried to expand the contract for further launches, but Russian refused and cut the relations. The company continued to produce the "missile post" stuff using their Russian connections. According to certificates, I can guess - this is the Millennium project. By now this is the only story, I know.

(Possibly, the reason for launch cancellation was the decision of President Boris Yeltsin to resign on 31 December 1999.)

cosmos-walter
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Posts: 511
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 06-22-2015 03:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Efim, thank you very much for this background story. I did not know it. In my opinion the covers offered as being flown on ballistic missiles were made in Russia. As you said, most of them were offered by a German stamp dealer.

We are speaking of covers purportedly flown on ballistic rockets for the following occasions:

  • 04.10.1997 - RSM-40 - 40. anniversary of Sputnik
  • 31.12.1999 - RSM-40M - Trans-Millennium-Rocket
  • 12.04.2001 - RSM-50 - 40. anniversary of Vostok
  • 15.10.2003 - RSM-52 - 25. anniversary of Soyuz 31
  • 05.07.2005 - RSM-50 - 5 years ISS
  • 17.12.2007 - RSM-54 - 50. anniversary of Sputnik
  • 29.06.2011 - RSM-54 - 50. anniversary of Vostok
Probably similar covers exist for the 50th anniversary of Valentina Tereshkova's flight.

cosmos-walter
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Posts: 511
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 06-23-2015 03:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As for 04.10.1997 - 40. anniversary of Sputnik RSM-40 flight:

The cover has a 22.09.1997 Severomorsk postmark and a 04.10.1997 postmark of Kamtshatka. This would match with a 03.10.1997 flight. However, in the database I found just a 04.10.1996 ballistic missile flight.

Is there any documentation for this event? Is it different to documentation of the other dates?

cosmos-walter
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Posts: 511
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 06-26-2015 03:38 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 got further information that more than 2000 covers might have been flown on 03.10.1997 RSM-40 rocket flight. Hovever, further research is needed.

Jonathan McDowell informed me that his records for Russian submarine missiles are highly incomplete.

Once more friends of collectSPACE are helping me to find the truth. Thank you, Efim!

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