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  Space Cover 229: Kennedy Visits McDonnell

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 229: Kennedy Visits McDonnell
yeknom-ecaps
Member

Posts: 463
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 09-03-2013 06:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 229 (September 2, 2013)

Space Cover 229: Kennedy Visits McDonnell Aircraft Corp.

By September 1962 four Project Mercury astronauts had travelled into space – Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn and Scott Carpenter but the United States was still behind the Soviets in the space race.

On September 12, 1962 President John F. Kennedy went to the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation plant "to see some of the hardware the (NASA) dollars are buying." At this time, McDonnell Aircraft Corporation was building both the Mercury and Gemini spacecraft. During the visit Kennedy inspected a Mercury capsule being readied for delivery. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch photo below shows Kennedy inspecting a mock-up of a Gemini capsule complete with Elbert Wiegand, a McDonnell engineer, wearing a space suit.

At 3:15 p.m. that day Kennedy spoke to the employees at Lambert Field in St. Louis, Missouri. The text of his remarks is listed in its entirety below. His opening words refer to James S. McDonnell (Chairman of the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation), Senator Edward V. Long (Missouri), Governor John M. Dalton (Missouri) and Mayor Raymond Tucker (St. Louis).

Mr. McDonnell, Senator, Governor, Mr. Mayor:

I want to express my very warm thanks to all of you. I know that some of you are on the first shift, and some on the second shift, and I appreciate very much your coming out and saying "Hello."

This is a most important effort in which you're all involved--building these planes which help protect the security of the United States and the dozens of countries which are associated and allied with us all around the world, which would not be free if it were not for the power and the determination of the United States, and also because of your efforts in the field of space.

As Mr. McDonnell said, no one can tell exactly what the future holds there, but it is an unexplored sea. It is essential that the United States participate in this great adventure. It is essential that the United States be first, and therefore we depend upon you. In the United States every citizen of this country is involved in this effort. As I pointed out this morning, it costs every citizen, man, woman, and child, today 40 cents a week to be involved merely in the effort in space. It will shortly cost them 50 cents a week.

Every citizen of this country has a stake, and is participating in this effort, but it all comes to you, to those in Houston, to those in Cape Canaveral, to those at MIT, to those on the West Coast, who perform the vital functions which make it possible to put one man or two men first in orbit around the earth, and then in orbit around the moon, and then on the moon, and then come back. And you are part of that great effort.

I can imagine no action, no adventure which is more essential and more exciting than to be involved in the most important and significant adventure that any man has been able to participate in the history of the world. And it's going to take place in this decade.

I congratulate you on what you have done and I congratulate you on being part of this adventure.

Thank you.

The non-descript cover at the top of this post has a McDonnell Aircraft Corporation Project Mercury meter cancel (with actual postage of seven cents not a .00 meter!) for the date of Kennedy's visit to the plant. A close-up of the meter cancel itself is shown above. This meter can be found with various space flight dates all the way through some of the Apollo missions including Apollo 11. Many collectors would pass up this important cover because there is no cachet to tell them what the cover is commemorating. So if you find one...

yeknom-ecaps
Member

Posts: 463
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 09-04-2013 08:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The McDonnell meter cancel can also be found on meter strips as well. Woody Witt had some of these (including Apollo versions) with him at the APS show in Milwaukee.

Antoni RIGO
Member

Posts: 10
From: Palma de Mallorca, Is. Baleares - SPAIN
Registered: Aug 2013

posted 09-04-2013 02:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Antoni RIGO   Click Here to Email Antoni RIGO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tom, amazing history and excellent cover.

With the same date Sep 12th 1962 there is a Sarzin cover postmarked Cape Canaveral with a cachet depicting a future US space station.

Now, with your history, this date has a new sense, and a new challenge to collect this specific cover.

McDonell Aircraft Corporation, based in St. Louis, MO played a key role in early space programs, as quoted in your post.

I have this cover dated Jun 3rd 1966 from St. Louis (double cancelled by mechanic and hand postmark) marking the launch date for Gemini Titan 9.

I am not completely sure if this cover may be considered as a Contractor Cover (if so, not very common).

Unfortunately for me I have not been able to identify the signature. Can anyone help me? Thanks.

Glint
Member

Posts: 761
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 09-04-2013 03:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Could it be McDonnell Aircraft pilot Norman Skyken?

Zoom in to the caption below the photograph in the lower right hand corner of page 1 in this June 24, 1964 issue of Space News Roundup.

Hope that helps!

yeknom-ecaps
Member

Posts: 463
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 09-04-2013 05:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Toni - thanks for the kind words. Yes, your cover would be considered a form of a contractor cover.

There are two distinct forms of contractor covers - (1) covers created and printed by the contractor themselves and (2) covers sent to the contractor and the contractor applies a specific cachet and/or their return address. Your cover has a specific McDonell return address label applied by McDonnell Aircraft thus it should be considered a contractor cover.

micropooz
Member

Posts: 1248
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 09-04-2013 07:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a McDonnell metered cover for Wally Schirra's MA8 Mercury flight. And someone added a cachet using a knockoff of part of the Orbit Cachet for that flight...

Antoni RIGO
Member

Posts: 10
From: Palma de Mallorca, Is. Baleares - SPAIN
Registered: Aug 2013

posted 09-05-2013 11:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Antoni RIGO   Click Here to Email Antoni RIGO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks to identify the signature and for the link. Even if you're not 100% sure, I see no better option for now.

Tom, thanks for your clear explanation about the two types of contractors covers. And thanks especially for confirming me that this cover is the second type.

DOX32
Member

Posts: 206
From: Fairfax, VA USA
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 09-10-2013 05:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DOX32   Click Here to Email DOX32     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes I have 10 McDonnell labels with .05 .06 OR .10 values. These are for:
  • 12/15/1965 Shirra-Stafford
  • 2/26/1966 Apollo 1
  • 3/16/1996 Armstrong-Scott
  • 6/3/1966 Stafford-Cernan
  • 7/18/1966 Young-Collins
  • 9/12/1966 Conrad-Gordan
  • 11/11/1966 Lovell-Aldrin
  • 7/20/1969 Apollo 11 (2)
  • 11/14/1969 Apollo 12
All are postmarked with St Louis, MO, home of McDonnell.

All times are CT (US)

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