Astrophilatelist - USA, 2013 Report. 


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The annual Space Unit meeting was held at the Baltimore Philatelic Society stamp show, August 31 through September 2, 2013, in Hunt Valley Maryland.  The venue is a four star resort hotel and a superb venue for stamp and space cover collectors, guests, and friends.  Major astrophilatelic venues are nearby and include the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum, and National Postal Museum, all close by in Washington, D.C.; Fort McHenry, Battle of Baltimore, 1812, where the U.S. national anthem was written verifying, "…the rockets’ red glare” during British rocket attacks on the fort; and last, this historic venue, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, where the first powered airplane flight was made in 1903 by aviators and brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright, also within easy driving distance of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. 

ANNUAL SPACE UNIT MEETING, BALPEX, HUNT VALLEY, MARYLAND

Fifty-five Space Unit members, guests, and visitors attended this year’s BALPEX Philatelic Exposition included Tom Steiner, SU President, Steve Durst, SU Vice-President, John Macco, former SU Vice-President, Dick Morain, member and USCS President, David Ball, member and USA FIP Delegate, Woody Witt, member and cachet maker, Dave Blog, member, John Shue, member and cachet maker, Pete Sarmiento, National Air and Space Museum docent and member, Barbara Chisolm, space cover dealer and new member.  Sister philatelic organization, the Universal Ship Cancellation Society officers and members were invited to join the Space Unit officers and members to hear an informative space monkey and recovery ship presentation by Captain Joe Guion, U.S. Navy, Retired.  Captain Guion was the Commanding Officer of USS Kiowa and responsible for the recovery of space monkeys Able and Baker in the Atlantic Ocean, May 28, 1959, at the dawn of the modern space age, and setting the stage for manned spaceflights by Project Mercury astronauts in the near future.

Captain Guion in command of USS Kiowa recovered astromonkeys Able and Baker, on May 28, 1959, in the Atlantic Ocean near Puerto Rico after the monkeys epic Jupiter missile flight to a 360 miles apogee, 1,700 miles down the Air Force Eastern Test Range from Cape Canaveral, Florida.  The space monkeys splashed down successfully near Puerto Rico, and were recovered at sea by USS Kiowa after their 16 minute space flight.  At our annual SU meeting, Captain Guion presented a film of the actual recovery of Able and Baker space monkeys by his crew and their post recovery activities.  After his excellent presentation, Captain Guion graciously signed photos and covers of Space Unit members for his mission and he further reminisced on how to properly recover space monkeys in rough seas.  It was a thoroughly entertaining ending to a historic space flight with astromonkeys.  Would astronauts do better than Able and Baker?

A full array of astrophilatelic awards were offered to participants at BALPEX, our annual Space Unit meeting.  An in depth critique was provided by officiating judges at the BALPEX exhibitors' post exhibiting meeting.  Space Unit members and exhibitors David Ball and John Macco earned Gold and Silver medals for their significant space cover exhibits. "Americans in Space: Projects Mecury, Gemini, and Apollo;” and "Apollo-Soyuz Test Project,” respectively.

SPACE UNIT ACTIVITIES IN 2013

The "Astrophile” Journal.  Our editor continues to have challenging health issues affecting our publishing of the "Astrophile.”  We have lost some progress in regaining our publishing schedule of three, 96 page "Astrophile” issues per year.  This last year, we published two "Astrophile” journals, but the third journal, on schedule to be published in early December, was delayed due to severe illness and then the death of our editor’s father requiring his absence to be with his Dad and his family.  Subsequently we then missed meeting this year’s schedule.  I anticipate regaining our schedule this next year and are presently off to a good start in accomplishing this. 

Major articles appearing in the "Astrophile” issues of 2013 were varied and covered the range of astrophilatelic topics including: Special In Memoriam Issue of the "Astrophile” for Remembering Astronaut Neil Armstrong (Died August 25, 2012), Remembering Neil Armstrong by Buzz Aldrin, Dragon C-2 Space Mail, Discoverer 17 and the first Satellite Letter, Who was Barbara Baker?, Flown X-15 Rocketplane Covers, the Secret First Day of the Project Mercury Stamp, Soviet Postmark Design Difference Mystery, Sputnik-3 Final Orbit Postmark Mystery Resolved, "All Spacecraft Systems Go! The Orbital Flight of John H. Glenn, Jr., Early U.S. Tracking Station Network, 1946 to 1963, The First Rocket Racing League Rocket Mail, First Cape Canaveral Launch, Judging Astrohilatelic Exhibits, Unmanned Satellites on Postage Stamps: Aeros I and II, Azur, and Dial-Wika, and Cape Kennedy and Satellite Beach Local Post Issues.

Our Space Unit exhibitor, author, and distinguished astrophilatelist, David Ball has recently won two gold medals in stiff competition at major philatelic show venues, the first Gold medal was awarded at the National Philatelic Exposition (NAPEX) Washington, D.C.; and a second gold medal was awarded at the Baltimore Philatelic Exposition (BALPEX), Baltimore, Maryland.  David’s tremendous experience, sound judgment and keen ability to get things done will be an outstanding addition to the important work being accomplished in astrophilately by the FIP. The officers of the Space Unit also hope it will also facilitate USA astrophilatelists being active and contributing partners with FIP delegates and members.

Space Unit Membership and Major Meetings.  Membership of the Space Unit continues steady at 410 members from the U.S.A. and the international community. Space Unit chapter meetings were held at six major astrophilatelic venues in 2013.  Space Unit members held substantive and informative meetings at the following stamp show venues.  Shows marked with an asterisk (*) are among the most prestigious astrophilatelic shows in the U.S. : Texas Philatelic Exhibition March 1-3, 2013, Arlington, Texas; Springfield Exposition, March 2-3, 2013, Springfield, Virginia; National Philatelic Exhibition, May 31-June 2, 2013, Washington, D.C.*; American Philatelic Society Stamp Show, August 8 -11, 2013, Milwaukee, Wisconsin*; Baltimore Philatelic Exposition, August 30-September 1, 2013*; and the Chicago Philatelic Exposition, November 22-24, 2013, Chicago, Illinois*.

Space Cover of the Week (SCOTW) Web Site under www.collectspace.com.  The Space Cover of the Week web site is organized under originator Robert Pearlman’s parent web site, www.collectspace.com.  The web site is open to all web denizens to read articles posted weekly or contributed by other astrophilatlists reviewing space stamps and space covers on a near real time basis.  The six major contributors to the SCOTW web site are Space Unit members Bob McLeod, Dennis Dillman, Steve Durst, Tom Steiner, David Ball, and John Macco. SCOTW web site topics in 2013 included the following items: USS Yorktown Apollo 8 Recovery, Insurance Covers and Populations Produced, Far Out-Pioneer 10 and Voyager 1, Help Identifying / Translating Chinese Space Sheet, Skylab Prime Recovery Ships, 15 Years of the Zarya Module, Sam and Mrs, Sam Monkeynauts, Pioneer Venus Parachute Test, and ISS-Dragon and ISS-Soyuz, Houston Pictorial Postmarks.  It is anticipated that this forward reaching effort by Space Unit members to the social media interested world wide web community users will draw in younger interested astrophilatelists and will appeal to a younger more computer oriented group of collectors.  And we feel it will also bode well for our future. 

Webmaster Ross Smith’s Web Site for the Space Unit.  Space Unit member Ross Smith continues to impress and amaze us with the depth and breadth of his efforts and web postings on the Space Unit website, http://www.space.space-unit.com.  Access to the SU web site is free, and available to anyone to call the site up and can access it via the Internet using the site link shown above   Reprint articles from the "Astrophile” available at the "Articles” selection button.  Other articles from our archives are often shown and further generate interest in the astrophilatelic community such as these varied and interesting space stamp and space cover related articles:

 

"Soyuz Flights to the International Space Station”

authors, members John Macco and Jim Roth

SU web site link:  http://www.space-unit.com/articles/soyuz_flights_to_the_iss.pdf

 

"U.S. Stratospheric Balloon Flights in the 1950’s to 1960’s, Precursors to Manned Spaceflight”

author, member Beatrice Bachman

SU web site link:  http://www.space-unit.com/articles/manned_pioneer_flights_in_the_usa.pdf

 

"Theodore von Karman, 1881-1963, Father of Modern Aerospace Science”

author, member Bill York

SU web site link: http://www.space-unit.com/articles/karman/theodore_von_karman.doc

 

"A Study of NASA VIP Cards” and Associated VIP Card Update for this Study

author, former SU President and member, Ray Cartier

http://www.space-unit.com/articles/vip_cards/vip_cards-01.htm

 

Steve Durst

Vice President, Space Unit


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