This collection covers the period from 1974 - 1990 and consists of 460+ covers.
The first part of the collection deals with the pre-operational aspects of the programme. This comprises 50 covers dealing with the topics spacelab simulation, arrival of the shuttle training aircraft, wind tunnel testing, naming of test crews, simulated landing tests, engine and auxilliary power units testing, captive - active flights and the 5 drop test flights, naming of the first 35 astronauts, commissioning of the Rocket Booster recovery ships and the Full Dress Rehearsal for the first operational flight. Also included is a cover with the original signature of Shannon Lucid, one of the first female astronauts selected. All are postmarked from the area where the activity was conducted and covers the years 1974 - 1981.
The remaining 410 covers of the collection deal with all operational flights from the initial flight (April 1981) through to STS-35 (December 1990) including the ill-fated 51-L Challenger Mission.
Included in this section are:
(A). 19 privately designed launch covers depicting the original signatures of the crews for flights 1 to 9; flights 41-B, 41-C, 41-D and 41-G; flights 51-A and 51-C; flights STS-26, STS-32, STS-33 and STS-34; postmarked on the relevant launch date at military bases in Australia.
(B). A cover and photograph depicting the original signatures of the first six members of the Canadian Astronaut Corps selected in 1983.
(C). The STS-8 "Flown in Space" cover of 1983. Postmarked Challenger / Kennedy Space Centre / Edwards AFB.
(D). Mission Profile Covers. A series for each flight depicting the shuttle launch, satellite launch / recovery in space, spacewalks, onboard experiments, space repairs and shuttle landing. The cachets are beautiful coloured photos of the events, some even taken by the astronauts themselves. These are postmarked at Kennedy Space Centre, Edwards AFB and Houston, Texas.
(E). Launch / Landing covers. Double postmarked covers recording the shuttle launch / landing and launch / return to KSC.Postmarks are Kennedy Space Centre and Edwards AFB.
(F). Tracking stations. Covers for each flight from tracking stations involved in the program from around the world; Antigua, Ascension Is, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Chile, Guam, Hawaii, Grand Bahamas, Iwo Jima, Seychelles, Spain and in the US - namely Greenbelt, Maryland, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico and Chatsworth AFB, California.
The collection also comes with a set of 35 coloured crew portraits of which 19 have been autographed. Embroided mission crew patches as worn on the flightsuits are also included.STS1