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  Unknown Skylab "Boeing Fire Department" cover

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Author Topic:   Unknown Skylab "Boeing Fire Department" cover
bobslittlebro
Member

Posts: 106
From: Douglasville, Ga U.S.A.
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 11-24-2013 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Okay gang, here is a cover I have never seen and I need your help.

This cover is postmarked KSC Jul 28,1973 the launch of Skylab II. The cachet is a yellowish-orange crew emblem. On the top of the cover are the words "Boeing Fire Department". At the bottom "Fire Prevention Bureau" and then at the right of the cover is No 470.

Has anyone seen this cover before?

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 1910
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 11-24-2013 02:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tim, Actually, it's not an unknown cover, as a series of them were produced throughout the Apollo/Skylab program era in 1969-73.

The special series of "fire cachet covers" at Kennedy Space Center started with the launch of Apollo 12 in Nov. 1969. Another was for Apollo 13's launch in Apr. 1970 that also featured a "13 black cat" sticker as part of the cachet cover design.

Both covers were printed in red on top with "God Speed Space Sailors" along with "KSC Fire Service" at bottom. Each, also, had a photo of a Saturn V moon rocket on the pad alongside an official fire department logo.

The cover creations were the idea of Bill Killen, a Kennedy Space Center Fire Department (KSCFD) astronaut rescue team veteran. At the time, the KSCFD was operated by the Boeing Company here at Kennedy. Killen's initials, "wdk," were also printed on both of the Apollo cover issues.

About 500 covers were produced for each of the Skylab missions from May to November 1973. Each cover was numbered at bottom right with their designated KSC machine launch-day cancel applied.

The first Skylab cover for the unmanned SL-1 launch featured a dark blue cachet with the wording "Kennedy Space Center" at top along with "Fire Department" at the bottom of the Skylab program emblem design.

The second, first manned crew to the orbital Skylab workshop station, contained the SL-2 crew cachet in red with "Astronaut" at top and "Rescue Crew" at bottom.

Third was the above depicted cover for SL-3 and the final KSCFD cover was for SL-4, printed in green, with "Kennedy Space Center" at top and "Fire Department-Combat Division" printed at bottom.

Though not completely confirmed, I was told by KSCFD veterans that for the SL-2 launch on May 25, 1973, all 500 covers had been stored or carried aboard one of the assigned M-113 astronaut rescue team tank vehicles in support of first manned Skylab mission.

bobslittlebro
Member

Posts: 106
From: Douglasville, Ga U.S.A.
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 11-24-2013 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Ken, great info.

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 1910
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 11-25-2013 07:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Forgot to include in my above posting that there was a special Apollo 17 cachet cover, honoring the astronaut rescue team of KSC fire service and military personnel, issued in Dec. 1972.

It was also reported that less than 200 of the Apollo 12 KSCFD cachet covers were printed, with most sold within the fire department.

For Apollo 13, in April 1970, the same cachet cover design had been used for the Apollo 13 launch. But a circular white gummed decal with the number "13" along with a cat image had been placed over the "12" on the Apollo 12 KSCFD cachets.

Less than 50 of them were produced for Apollo 13 and postmarked the day of launch, most receiving machine cancels, with perhaps less than 10 of those being hand cancelled.

Acquiring a "complete set" of the KSC's fire department cover issues (7 altogether for Apollos 12, 13, 17 and all four Skylabs) would certainly be a challenging feat today.

bobslittlebro
Member

Posts: 106
From: Douglasville, Ga U.S.A.
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 11-25-2013 08:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you have any of the Apollo ones I sure would like to see them.

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 1910
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 11-25-2013 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tim, I know Bob McLeod has color copies of my Apollo 12/13 and all Skylab KSCFD issues, therefore, as time permits (as I know how busy he is this month), perhaps he can post the covers here.

There is another special KSCFD-issue that my firm produced for the space center fire department, with full authorization by the department to do so (and paid for).

It was a 2-color (red and blue) cachet cover in commemoration of KSCFD's 30th anniversary in 1994. About 300 of the covers were printed for the KSCFD.

I've got a few covers available, with either a KSC machine cancel or red hand-cancel, postmarked on March 30, 1994. Perhaps Bob can also illustrate one of them here as well if there is any interest.

Bob M
Member

Posts: 1387
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 11-25-2013 09:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll post them here soon.

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