ASTP RECOVERY SHIP COVER & POSTMARK VARIETIES

ASTP - Launch 15 July 1975 - Splashdown 24 July 1975

Recovery Force Shipsv
Shipii Type Designation Covers
Atlantic
USCGC Courageous SRS - Coast Guard Cutter WMEC-622 Y
USS Preserver SRS - Rescue & Salvage Ship ARS-8 Y
Landing Craft SRS - Landing Craft LCU N
Pacific
USS New Orleansi PRS - Carrier LPH-11 Y
Tracking Ships
USNS Vanguard TS - Tracking Ship - stationed at 25 S 155 W in the Pacific T-AGM-19 Y
USNS Redstoneiv TS - Tracking Ship T-AGM-20 Y
Recovery Control Center
Norfolk VA Atlantic Recovery Control Center N/A Y
Kunia Hi Pacific Recovery Control Center N/A Y
Soviet Tracking Shipsiii
Kosmonavt Yuri Gagarin TS - Tracking Ship off coast of Nova Scotia Canada N/A Y
Akademik Sergei Korolev TS - Tracking Ship off Honduras N/A Y
Bezhitsavi TS - Tracking Ship off West coast of Africa N/A N
Probably Not Involved
Yamagumo (Japanese)4 Anti-submarine Hunter-killer Destroyer DD113 Y
JMSDF Katori (Japanese)4 Training Ship N/A Y

Postmark Variations
Ship Description of Postmark Scarcity
USS New Orleans -
San Francisco
i
 Machine Cancel - 24th
Used in Hawaii
Common
San Francisco6 Unusual cover with three different San Francisco postmarks including the special ASTP postmark Rare
USS New Orleansi Hand Cancel - Wavy Killer Bars - 25th
Used aboard PRS
Scarce
USNS Vanguard3 USPS 327 Jun 1975 Postmark U/K
USNS Vanguard3 Bauboa Canal Zone 15 Jul 1975 Postmark U/K
USNS Vanguard3 San Francisco Jul 24 1975 Postmark U/K
USNS Vanguard3 Norfolk Jul 24 1975 Postmark U/K
USNS Redstone Cape Canaveral Jul 15 1975 Postmark U/K
USNS Redstone Cape Canaveral Jul 24 1975 Postmark U/K


Cachets
Cachet Description of Cachet Colours Type
Navy Recovery Force Cachet - Atlantic

Designed by Morris Beck it shows Apollo almost docked with Soyuz

 Red Rubber Stamp
Navy Recovery Force Cachet - Pacific

Designed by Morris Beck it shows Apollo almost docked with Soyuz

 Blue Rubber Stamp
Beck Cachet -Atlantic 1 Similar to but larger than Navy Cachet Red-Yellow-Black Printed
Beck Cachet -Atlantic 2 Same as above but missing red ASTP & with a slightly darker Yellow colour Red-Yellow-Black Printed
Beck Cachet - Pacific Similar to but larger than Navy Cachet Green-Red-Black Printed
TF-130 Cachet TF-130 Manned Spacecraft Recovery Force Atlantic shows various recovery aircraft & ships Blue, Maroon, Black Rubber Stamp

Navy Recovery Force Cachet Colours & Beck Cachet Numbers

Ship

Known Cachet Colours

Beck Numbers

USS New Orleans -
San Francisco
Blue B998
Norfolk Maroon B999

Interesting Cachets & Covers
Cachet Description of Cachet Colours Type
Kennedy Space Center Navy cachet with KSC Link-up postmark Red Rubber Stamp
Kunia HI An interesting series of Boudwin covers with greyscale mission emblems. Various dates exist including 17, 21 & 23 Jul Greyscale Printed
Kunia HI Cachet shows Apollo & Soyuz capsules docked Blue Rubber Stamp
Kunia HI Unusual cachet showing ASTP in orbit and Capsule in Ocean with recovery helicopters Blue & Red Printed
Norfolk VA Beck B999 cover addressed to the famous Les Winick Multicolour Printed
Norfolk VA Mission Emblem with 5 astronaut names plus Helicopter and capsule with parachutes opened above water Blue + Blue Rubber Stamp
Norfolk VA Interesting self-coloured picture of the docking plus heads of the crew Multicolour Self-Adhesive
Norfolk VA Nice multicolour picture of the splashdown Multicolour Printed
San Francisco Mission Emblem plus Helicopter and capsule with parachutes opened above water Green + Blue Rubber Stamp
San Francisco Amusing cachet shows Snoopy and a Soviet equivatent rendezvousing in Space Multicolour Printed
San Francisco Interesting self-coloured picture of the crew Multicolour Self-Adhesive
San Francisco Cover with embossed multicolour mission emblem Multicolour Printed
USS Preserver A different photo of the Preserver greyscale Printed
USS New Orleans Sean Masar cover postmarked 16 July actually aboard the PRS. Similar covers are known from 13 to 25 July except for 24 when the onboard PO was closed Blue Rubber Stamp
USS New Orleans Sean Masar cover postmarked 21 July which was the date the two spacecraft undocked- actually aboard the PRS during undocking and recovery Blue Rubber Stamp
USS New Orleans Bob Boudwin cover with a docking cachet Blue Printed
USS New Orleans A multicolour mission emblem cachet with printed crew signatures. Contains an insert with mission information Multicolour Printed
USS New Orleans Cover with the ship's cachet and with a mystery Sept 2 1975 USS New Orleans postmark Maroon Rubber Stamp
USS New Orleans1 Unusual 'depart for Recovery Area' cover - postmarked 13 July 1975 plus ship's cachet Maroon Rubber Stamp
USS New Orleans6 A Beck B998 cover with a mystery Sept 2 1975 USS New Orleans postmark Red-Green-Blue Printed
USS New Orleans6 A KSC ASTP cacheted cover with a mystery Sept 2 1975 USS New Orleans postmark Light Blue Rubber Stamp
USS New Orleans6 USS New Orleans postcard with a USS New Orleans postmark from July 25. Multicolour Printed
USS New Orleans7 Another USS New Orleans postcard with a USS New Orleans postmark from July 25. Multicolour Printed
USS New Orleans3 Ship's cachet with a postmark from July 28? Maroon Rubber Stamp
USS New Orleans8a Interesting map cover Multicolour Printed
USNS Redstone An interesting cover with a Captain L Couch corner card and a US Postal Service 327 postmark Black Rubber Stamp
USNS Vanguard Front and Back of an interesting signed cover Black Rubber Stamp
USNS Vanguard Cachet shows the Vanguard, Earth and Mission Emblem. Both Black and Dark Blue versions exist. Black or Dark Blue Rubber Stamp
USNS Vanguard3 Three covers with different USNS Vanguard cachets Black Rubber Stamp

Signed PRS Covers including Helicopter Recovery Covers - most of these covers were actually aboard the PRS during recovery
Postmark Description of Cover Postmark Date
San Francisco
(USS New Orleans)
Helicopter Recovery Cover signed by Pilot and Crew of Helantisubron Six - flown aboard Main Recovery Helicopter 24 Jul 1975
San Francisco
(USS New Orleans)
Helicopter Recovery Cover signed by Pilot and Crew of Helantisubron Six - flown aboard Swim 1 Helicopter 24 Jul 1975
San Francisco
(USS New Orleans)
Helicopter Recovery Cover signed by Pilot and Crew of Helantisubron Six - flown aboard ELS Helicopter 24 Jul 1975
San Francisco
(USS New Orleans)
Set of 3 Helicopter Recovery Covers signed by Pilot and Crew of Helantisubron Six - flown aboard Photo, Relay & ELS Helicopters 24 Jul 1975
San Francisco
(USS New Orleans)
Helicopter Recovery Cover signed by Pilot and Crew of Helantisubron Six - was aboard the Standby Helicopter 1 24 Jul 1975
San Francisco
(USS New Orleans)
9
Helicopter Recovery Cover signed by Pilot and Crew of Helantisubron Six - was aboard the Standby Helicopter 2 24 Jul 1975
San Francisco
(USS New Orleans)
Helicopter Recovery Cover signed by three members of the rescue team - USS New Orleans ship's cachet on back 24 Jul 1975
US Postal Service Helicopter Recovery Cover signed by Pilot and Crew of Helantisubron Six. Cover marked 24 July 1975 and note states it was flown aboard the helicopter Late pmk
San Francisco
(USS New Orleans)
Cover carried aboard the Apollo Soyuz (ASTP) Prime Recovery Ship, USS New Orleans and cancelled on its return to San Francisco on July 24, 1975. The cover is signed by Stuart A Bergman, Dr G Wycliffe Hoffler, Arnauld E Nicogossian, Joesph Baker and John Donaldson. These individuals were aboard the ship to conduct the Inflight Lower Limb Volume Measurement (ASTP007) experiment on the astronauts. 24 Jul 1975
San Francisco
(USS New Orleans)
Set of 4 Helicopter Recovery Covers signed by Pilot and Crew of Helantisubron Six - flown aboard 4 different helicopters 24 Jul 1975
San Francisco
(USS New Orleans)
Helicopter Recovery Cover signed by Pilot of Recovery Helicopter - cover has blue Navy cachet 24 Jul 1975
San Francisco
(USS New Orleans)
Another Helicopter Recovery Cover signed by Pilot and Crew of Helantisubron Six - flown aboard ELS Helicopter 24 Jul 1975
San Francisco
(USS New Orleans)
5
Cennential cover signed by Deke Slayton, also signed by the Captain of the USS New Orleans and various members of the recovery team 24 Jul 1975
San Francisco
(USS New Orleans)
8
A great cover signed by 11 members of the UDT team 24 Jul 1975

General Notes:
i) Almost all Beck covers and most Navy and other cacheted covers were cancelled in San Francisco on the day of recovery. A small number of covers were postmarked on board the PRS on the day after recovery.
ii) The USS Preserver was on call at Port Canaveral on 15th for a launch abort recovery. The USS New Orleans was stationed in the Primary Landing Area on the 24th for recovery operations.
iii) The Akademik Sergi Korolev was stationed off the coast of Honduras (at approximately 16° N, 87.5° W), while the Kosmonavt Yuri Gagarin was stationed off Sable Island , Nova Scotia (about 44.5° N, 59.5° W) - source and NASA Press Kit. Note that the covers are souvenir covers only and were not aboard the ships.
iv) Was on standby in port for this mission
v) See my article on PRS covers from this mission which was published in Astrophile #307. It includes a wide range of covers not shown on this page
vi) Article in Ad Astra by Jim Reichman to be published during 2015


Other Notes:
1) From the collection of Robert Mcleod
2) From the collection of Steve Durst
3) From the collection of Tom Steiner
4) From the collection of Alec Bartos
5) Sold in RR Auction September 2011 for $134 + 20% Buyers premium
6) From the collection of Gerard Zonneveld
7) From the collection of Timothy Preston
8) Sold on eBay during 2013 a) 2014 
9) From the collection of  John Macco

This page © Dr Ross J Smith
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Last modified on 8 September 2018

 

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