President’s Report at the 2012 AS.IT.AF. Annual Meeting
2011 marked the 50th anniversary of the First Manned Space Flight.
Several Events have been organized by AS.IT.AF. for commemorating this anniversary. The main Celebration took place on April 12th with the Participation of three "Space Explorers”: i.e. the "golden age” American Astronaut Walter R. Cunningham (Apollo 7), who is an Honorary Member of AS.IT.AF., the Russian Cosmonaut Valeri Tokarev (Buran Test Pilot and STS-96 Mission Specialist) and the Italian Astronaut Maurizio Cheli, one of the best Italian test pilots (STS-75).
The Celebration started on April 11th in the morning, in Turin, where the astronauts were officially welcomed by the Authorities of the Piedmont Region, had a joint conference in the afternoon and the following day held a debate on the space race at the "Torino Incontra” Congress Centre.
On April 12th in the afternoon the three astronauts/cosmonauts participated in a general discussion at the Science Museum in Milan.
With the contribution of AS.IT.AF. an Italian Stamp celebrating Gagarin was issued and it was officially presented in Turin at "Torino-Incontra” in the context of the AS.IT.AF. Meeting. Poste Italiane officially invited the AS.IT.AF. President to prepare the related promotional materials, together with the President of the Italian Space Agency. Eighteen Astrophilately exhibits were on show at Torino-Incontra during the largest Astrophilately Exhibition ever held in Italy.
Other Gagarin Events, with Astrophilately exhibitions and conferences, were organized by AS.IT.AF. in Latina, near Rome, at the beginning of May, and in Crescentino (North Italy) in September.
Eight out of the 18 exhibits shown in Turin participated in the competition organized by FSFI (the Italian Philatelic Federation) within the "Venezia 2011” event. Among the eight remarkable collections competing in the Class Astrophilately under FIP regulations, four were awarded with golden medal, including the collection of the non-Italian Member of AS.IT.AF.: Alec Bartos. One Commemorative card was issued by AS.IT.AF. for the Gagarin Meeting and two special pictorial postmarks: the first celebrating the large Astrophilately Exhibition and the second commemorating the American Artist Paul Calle – late Member of AS.IT.AF. – who passed away in 2010.
Another special pictorial postmark was prepared for the Gagarin event in Latina. Commemorative cards and covers were prepared for all of the above events, as well as for special Italian space events, including the delivery of the first CYGNUS module – produced by Thales Alenia Space in Turin – to Orbital, at the presence of the NASA representatives.
Ten new Fellow Collectors joined AS.IT.AF. during 2011. Our Society is keeping on growing up, and it has now foreign Members living in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Romania, Spain and USA.
Two different versions of the quarterly "AD°ASTRA” Journal are issued both in Italian and English.
Regular contacts are further maintained with astrophilately collectors in China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Netherlands, UK and USA.
A bilingual web site is available in Italian and English, at www.asitaf.it .