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  Space Cover 224: ASSESS-2 Spacelab Simulation

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 224: ASSESS-2 Spacelab Simulation
Apollo-Soyuz
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posted 07-28-2013 07:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo-Soyuz   Click Here to Email Apollo-Soyuz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 224 (July 28, 2013)

Space Cover 224: ASSESS-2 Spacelab Simulation

The covers shown above commemorates the ASSESS-2 (Airborne Science/Spacelab Experiment System Simulation) which ran between May 16-25, 1977 at Ames Research Center.

Karl Henize participated in the nine ASSESS-2 experiment six-hour flights aboard the Galileo-2 Convair-990. ASSESS-2 tested techniques and modes of operation which were applied to Spacelab missions.

------------------
John Macco
Space Unit #1457

stevedd841
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From: millersville, maryland, usa
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posted 07-28-2013 09:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stevedd841   Click Here to Email stevedd841     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Superb signed early Spacelab test covers for the start and completion of early Galileo II project tests at Moffett Field, California. The tests were conducted on NASA's Convair 990 aircraft, piloted by astronaut Karl Henize, and tested four years before the first NASA space shuttle flight, April 12, 1981. Major Galileo project Spacelab tests would be conducted in Earth orbit on the space shuttle. Thank you for the great SCOTW posting, John!

Ken Havekotte
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posted 07-28-2013 11:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great cover topic this week spotlighting the successful ASSESS/Galileo II scientific series of airborne Spacelab systems simulation flights.

ASSESS 1 was the first in the flown series with the NASA Ames Research Center based Convair 990 research aircraft in June 1975.

The second ASSESS scientific experiments flight, in May 1977, wasn't piloted by Dr. Karl Henize, a NASA scientist astronaut, but rather he served as a mission specialist astronaut aboard the research flight along with payload specialists David Billiu, Robert Menzies, Claude Nicollier of Switzerland, and Michael Taylor of England.

Both Bob McLeod and myself do have a number of different ASSESS and other Galileo flight-related covers in our own collections from 1975-77.

Many of them are signed by participating personnel along with even a few that were actually carried aboard the CV-990 aircraft, also known as "the flying lab," during those years.

Most of the covers were cancelled at Moffett Field, CA, however, there were a noted few covers that received other postmarks for non-Moffett/Ames aircraft landings across the country.

micropooz
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posted 07-28-2013 11:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Henize actually made and carried some covers on the flight. He brought those out when he came to talk to the Space Unit meeting in Houston back in 1991 or 92. I had one of them for a few years, then traded it to another collector who was trying to accumulate as many of them as possible. Unfortunately, I've lost track of that collector...

Ken Havekotte
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posted 07-28-2013 02:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good to know that Henize, a space cover collector himself, did in fact prepare and fly some covers with him aboard the ASSESS II/Galileo II aircraft in May 1977.

Just curious to know what was traded for one of his flown ASSESS covers while attending a Space Unit meeting in Houston more than 20 years ago? Did Henize also have anything else with him for trade or purchase?

I've got a few carried/flown covers by Henize in my own collection. My earliest of him, in Dec. 1971, was when he documented a flown T-38 cover while flying on a NASA astronaut training flight in support of an Apollo role.

Let me also add, going back to ASSESS for a moment, that NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, CA, did provide a nice rubber stamp cachet commemorating the ASSESS 2 flight in 1977.

One of my rubber stamp cachet covers from Ames was stamped over a type-written "Flown Aboard ASSESS CV-990 Airborne Laboratory Flight" cachet cover. Unfortunately, this particular cover was not flown as indicated, but did receive their official rubber stamp cachet in black ink.

micropooz
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posted 07-28-2013 04:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ken, I wish I could remember what I traded to get the cover, and what I got when I traded it away (the latter so I could kick myself! lol).

Apollo-Soyuz
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posted 07-28-2013 04:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo-Soyuz   Click Here to Email Apollo-Soyuz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a copy of the cover Ken mentioned in his post. Cover serviced by Ames Research Center Stamp Club. Collectors were only able to send two covers per request.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 07-28-2013 06:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, John, that's it, and wasn't there another official rubber stamp of sorts, a small dark blue box design, that had been used on some ASSESS covers from Ames? If time permits, I'll try to locate it in my earlier Spacelab cover boxes.

Bob M
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posted 07-29-2013 03:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like ASSESS-2 was well-covered, especially by the Ames Stamp Club. As far as the small square blue Convair 990 rubber stamp cachet that Ken mentioned, I have one cover with it and it's for an October 1975 Arctic scientific flight (addressed to Paul Andexler. Anyone remember him?).

I only have one CV-990 flown cover and it's not ASSESS-related. It was flown by T.C. Haughney on July 16, 1976 from Thule, Greenland to Fairbanks, Alaska, with a faint Fairbanks, AK machine cancel.

For some reson I kinda went overboard with the Ames ASSESS-2 cacheted covers, as I ended up with covers for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd (bought from Sean Marsar for $3.50), 5th, 8th (Marsar, $3), 9th and 10th and final day flights (final day cover autographed by both Henize and Robert Parker).

Ken Havekotte
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posted 07-29-2013 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Success; I did locate the CV-990 small blue rubber stamp cachet cover referred to above and I think Steve Durst has a color copy of it from an earlier mailing of mine with many shuttle-related cover copies mostly from the 1970s/early 80s.

No big deal, but I am thinking the small blue box-shaped rubber stamp was an official cachet from NASA's Ames Research Center. But of course, the Moffett Field facility also had in circulation the larger ASSESS-2 black rubber stamp as well.

Maybe the smaller blue stamp impression was for usage of their CV-990 research aircraft for other airborne "flying lab" missions, or perhaps was mainly for internal uses by their CV-990 projects office there.

Might be a good study to put together an illustration of other various "official" rubber stamp cachets that had been issued or produced from this and other NASA space center installations across the country.

For sure, there were many others that came out of Ames, Huntsville's Marshall Space Flight Center, the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, and of course NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

But not known to most astrophilatelists was a short-lived "official" NASA rubber stamp cachet that only a handful of collectors got in their mailboxes.

No, it's not the infamous Helios cachet that was applied to launch-day covers in Dec. 1974, or even the earlier Apollo 1 (AS-204) rubber stamp impression in 1967.

You would have to go back to Oct. 1970 at the Kennedy Space Center! Can anyone identify it?

Keep in mind, though, it was never officially released or mentioned in a news or philatelic release or publication--but--it was in fact applied on a few collectors' self-stamped addressed envelopes that were on hold for the event, which was in fact, publicized beforehand on base at Kennedy.

How many covers are known to receive the unusual rubber stamp cachet (RSC) from KSC's Mail and Distribution Services?

Only less than a dozen or so are known. Of those dozen, at least two known KSC workers had gotten them in their mailboxes from the on-base main space center postal station here.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 07-29-2013 06:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Related to ASSESS-2, I have an SMD-III cover - although the cachet is that of an Enterprise ALT flight - signed by Carter Alexander and Bill Williams, the latter who became a prime PS for Mission 61D/Spacelab 4 before he resigned. I'll post a scan later (and I hope to get it signed by Bill Thornton.)

Ken Havekotte
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posted 07-29-2013 07:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hart, as a matter of fact, I met Dr. Bill Thornton Saturday night in Port Canaveral and at The Apollo/Saturn V Center during the 40th Skylab anniversary dinner celebration.

He had attended a benefit dinner as a SMEAT crewman along with Bob Crippen and Karol Bobko.

In addition, all the Skylab crewmen were being honored, with six of them present, by The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation along with Vance Brand representing the Skylab astronaut backup team.

My firm was one of the event sponsors, and I proud one at that, as an avid Skylab enthusiast and collector.

Anyway, Dr. Thornton was one of the crew members of the 7-day Spacelab Mission Development III simulation that was held at the Johnson Space Center in May 1977.

I've got a few SMD-III simulation covers myself from Houston and with a couple of them signed by the SMD-III crew of Thornton, Dr. Carter Alexander of JSC, and Dr. Bill Williams of ARC.

A highlight cover from SMD-III is a carried cover of mine located inside the Spacelab research module that had been stored at "Spacelab Rack 02" from May 17-23, 1977.

It had been originally signed by Carter Alexander, the "cover carrier" for me while he was aboard the week-long simulation test, and his co-payload specialist Bill Williams.

While the subject of autographs never came up during my conversation with Thornton, does anyone know of his whereabouts and signing habits?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-29-2013 07:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ken Havekotte:
While the subject of autographs never came up during my conversation with Thornton, does anyone know of his whereabouts and signing habits?
Last I heard, he still asks that autograph requests be sent care of the Astronaut Office, through which he responds. He will not sign STS-8 flown covers, but seems happy to sign photos and other memorabilia.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 07-29-2013 07:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Robert, for the useful information about Dr. Thornton still honoring autograph requests, huh, after so many years.

But I am not too crazy about addressing anything in care to the astronaut office at JSC. While there is certainly no disrespect intended to any of the fine mail room clerks working there, I just don't prefer having a shipment forwarded to another address or party.

Believe it or not, I haven't actually requested an astronaut autograph in the mail anywhere for more than 25 years or so (honestly)!

But I was curious about Thornton since we rarely see him at the Kennedy Space Center or in Florida, period, that I know of.

Bob M
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posted 07-30-2013 09:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ken Havekotte:
A highlight cover from SMD-III is a carried cover of mine located inside the Spacelab research module that had been stored at "Spacelab Rack 02" from May 17-23, 1977.
Here's one of three SMD-3 carried/located covers that Ken had done back in 1977. Also shown is a commemorative cover for that 7-day test and signed by the three participants: Bill Thornton, Carter Alexander and Bill Williams. Kind of surprising that neither Alexander or Williams flew on a Space Shuttle/Spacelab mission.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 07-30-2013 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bob, Perfect! I have the same covers, too, but am now wondering who got the third of our carried/located SMD-3 covers. At the moment, I can only locate one of them, but no big deal. The other was probably traded off to someone, perhaps a Shuttle/Spacelab cover collector.

The signed SMD-3 crew cover, I am sure, came from Rand/JSC Stamp Club in 1977. But I can't remember if the covers were already signed by the Spacelab simulation crew as mine, just like yours, were signed by Thornton in red ink and Alexander in blue. What do your notes in pencil indicate on the back of the signed completed crew cover?

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 07-30-2013 12:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bob M:
Kind of surprising that neither Alexander or Williams flew on a Space Shuttle/Spacelab mission.

Ah, but Williams was chosen to be a prime PS for Mission 61D/Spacelab 4. Williams and Bob Phillips were to have been the PSs, and IIRC, Brand, Griggs, Fabian and Seddon were among the crew. The flight was canceled even before Challenger, with a launch date TBD.

Williams left to spend more time with family, I think, and Phillips was too old to fly or medically disqualified by the time the mission finally flew as STS-40/SLS-1.

Bob M
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posted 07-30-2013 02:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When Ken asked about my pencil notes on the back of the signed cover, he knows that I've always documented when/where my covers/photos were signed and I did note that info on the signed cover. I received it in February '79, and I sent it to ARC in May 78 for Williams' autograph and he evidently signed it there and forwarded it, as it came back from Houston signed by both Thornton and Alexander. Of course, very nice of them to do that, but we collectors were used to generally kind and cooperative assistance from the astronauts and others back then.

Ken, since both of our event covers were signed the same way (Thornton with red ink, etc.), I probably sent both our covers to Williams and when they returned, gave you one.

Thanks, Hart. I did know that one of the PSs on the SMD-3 simulation had been on a canceled Shuttle flight, and it's a shame that with their early participation and involvement, neither would eventually fly on the Shuttle.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 07-30-2013 03:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release 84-005 (Feb. 2, 1984) gives the MSs on Spacelab 4, sked for a January 1986 launch on Columbia: Bagian and Seddon, with Fabian "as one of three pilots on 61-D."

A later release (84-036) gave Jan. 28, 1986 as its targeted launch date.

And indeed, Brand and Griggs were named as CDR and PLT in 85-005, dated January 29, 1985. By Sept. 19, 1985 (85-035) though, Brand and Griggs were reassigned, with the launch date under review.

Apparently it had never been given an STS number, since the eight canceled or postponed flights up to Challenger have been accounted for (Challenger was STS-33), and 61E was also known as STS-34.

Apollo-Soyuz
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posted 07-30-2013 08:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo-Soyuz   Click Here to Email Apollo-Soyuz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is one of the SMD-3 covers autographed by Carter, Williams and Thorton.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 07-30-2013 09:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John, another good SMD-3 cover signed by the crew, which I have, but not signed using this cachet-type design.

Now that leads up to another topic; Your cachet cover for SMD-3 depicted above was produced by veteran space cover servicer and dealer, Stan Henderson, owner and operator of 3-Muscateers.

Stan had been quite active and was a good space cover producer throughout the mid/late 1970s, and I believe, into the early 80s as well.

During those early shuttle test and development years, Stan and I became friends, which enabled us to establish a space cover producing business relationship. It was an ideal unofficial partnership of sorts as he would take care of our cover needs "out West" while I will attend to space cover work here on the East Coast.

All the sudden, after many years of working together, I never did hear from Stan again!

He had completely dropped out of the scene, and to the best of my knowledge, nobody else knew nor heard from him again in any capacity.

Hopefully he's okay and just maybe he might see this posting and get back to us, now older (some 30 years later), space cover junkies.

Apollo-Soyuz
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posted 08-09-2013 12:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo-Soyuz   Click Here to Email Apollo-Soyuz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are some more autographed ASSESS-2 covers.

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

posted 08-09-2013 06:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yep, John, these were more cachet cover productions by Stan Henderson of 3-Muscateers.

Anyone know of Stan's whereabouts these days?

mikepf
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posted 08-12-2013 03:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikepf   Click Here to Email mikepf     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am not really a cover collector, but I always read and enjoy these cover threads. I especially liked this one since I've been living just down the road from NASA Ames since 1982. I am always interested in learing new stuff about it's history. Thanks for all the cool info.

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