Space Cover 222: Launch Security
When collectors think of rocket launches they normally think of covers created for the launch itself. An interesting sideline to collecting the launch covers is to collect launch security covers. For each launch a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM or NoTAM) notice is filed to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazard of the rocket launch along a flight route or at a location that could affect the safety of the flight. Similarly a Notice to Mariners is filed for navigational safety.
For Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral AFS or other Eastern Test Range (e.g. submarine launches) launches the flight crews from Patrick AFB are tasked with security of the flight path while the US Coast Guard Port Canaveral Station is tasked with the marine security.
Covers for the security of launches can periodically be found. Shown above are covers for the Poseidon launch from the USS John C. Calhoun on April 19, 1971. The launch cover has a Bob Whitney RSC cancelled from Patrick AFB. The associated security related cover has a corner card from the USCG Cutter Point Charles cancelled from Cape Canaveral also on April 19th.
This set of covers is for the Symphonie B satellite launch on August 26, 1975. The top cover is a Space Voyager cachet for the launch cancelled at Cape Canaveral. The associated security related cover was flown aboard a helicopter from Detachment 15 of the 39th Air Rescue and Recovery Wing documented with the signatures of the pilot and co-pilot. The cover was cancelled with an August 26, 1975 Patrick AFB postmark.
In reading about launch delays within the launch window there seems to be more mariner delays for vessels in the restricted area than aircraft.
So while you are on the hunt for launch covers consider looking for some security covers to display with them...