Friday, October 8, 2010

USA – Space Exploration

October 4th to the 10th, every year 55 Nations celebrate the World Space Week. The UN had started this in 1999. In my own small way I decided to remember the day by this very topical and timely display of this First Day Cover from the USA.

On October 1st, 1991 the U.S. Postal Service issued a booklet of 10 different setenent space stamps, (two horizontal strips of five stamps joined together vertically and horizontally). Each stamp had a face value of 29 cents. The stamps were issued for National Stamp Collecting Month and commemorated the successful exploration of the 8 of the 9 planets (since then of course, Pluto was demoted from that exalted status) in our Solar System, plus the Earth's satellite. The Moon, by U.S. spacecrafts and are identified as follows: -

    • #2568: Planet Mercury/Mariner 10 Spacecraft.
    • #2569: Planet Venus/Mariner 2 Spacecraft.
    • #2570: Planet Earth/Landsat Spacecraft.
    • #2571: Planet Earth's Moon/Lunar Orbiter Spacecraft.
    • #2572: Planet Mars/Viking Orbiter Spacecraft.
    • #2573: Planet Jupiter/Pioneer 11 Spacecraft.
    • #2574: Planet Saturn/Voyager 2 Spacecraft.
    • #2575: Planet Uranus/Voyager 2 Spacecraft.
    • #2576: Planet Neptune/Voyager 2 Spacecraft.
    • #2577: Planet Pluto... not yet explored! It is a bit too far anyway.

The October 1, 1991 first day of issue cancellation on these covers is a pictorial hand cancellation, that shows the planet Saturn with its rings and other stars in the background with 3 lines of text:"First Day of Issue, October 1, 1991, Pasadena CA 91109". Another postmark called a "bulls eye cancel" may appear in addition on some covers like this one which is displayed, which consists of a small circle postmark with the name of Pasadena CA at the inner top of the circle and the date of Oct. 1, 1991 appearing in the center of the circle, This is also a "first day of issue cancellation" and is called a "bulls eye" cancellation because there are no killer bars. (It is often used where there is not sufficient space to apply the larger first day of issue postmark). Pasadena California is the location of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is the control center for the spacecraft listed above. The words postmark and cancellation are being deliberately used. However, as far as I am concerned, they really mean the same thing. I am sure Hemant who sent me this lovely card would agree.


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