Flown to the moon on Apollo 11 and signed by the crew.Apollo 11 Flown Crew-Signed Commemorative Cover Directly from the Personal Collection of Mission Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, Certified. A color-cacheted "NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club Official Commemorative Cover of the First Manned Lunar Exploration" signed "Neil Armstrong", "Michael Collins", and "Buzz Aldrin" to the right of the cachet. Collins has signed above it: "Carried to the moon aboard Apollo 11". This cover flew to the moon on one of mankind's greatest adventures, the first manned lunar landing mission. Affixed to the cover is an 8¢ "Apollo 8" stamp (Scott #1371) with an August 11, 1969, cancellation at Webster, Texas. Stamped beneath the cancellation is the text: "Delayed In Quarantine At/ Lunar Receiving Laboratory/ M.S.C. - Houston, Texas". Apollo 11 splashed down on earth on July 24 at which point, the equipment, and astronauts from the spacecraft were quarantined. As soon as this cover was released, it was taken to the nearest post office for cancellation. This is the pinnacle, the ultimate, for any collection of space-related covers. Excellent condition with one crinkle in the black area of the cachet, away from the signatures.
The Apollo 11 astronauts placement in quarantine was in accordance with the federal Extra-Terrestrial Exposure Law, passed in 1969, to "guard against the remote possibility that they are harboring unknown organisms that might endanger life on earth" (TIME Magazine, July 25, 1969). Upon landing on the U.S.S. Hornet, they are placed in a Mobile Quarantine Facility that would be their home until they got back to Houston. Michael Collins talks about the quarantine period in his excellent book, Carrying the Fire: "The mobile quarantine facility is simply a glorified trailer without wheels, modified with filters, water tanks, etc., to provide a biological barrier between those inside and the 3 billion people outside... We are summoned to the end of the trailer, and parting the curtains, we see that the hangar deck has been arranged for some sort of ceremony... in marched none other than President Nixon... We have transferred from a miniature planet, Columbia, to a slightly larger compartment, which in intentionally isolated from earth. We have not quite returned yet, despite the President's being outside our window... We are steaming for Pearl Harbor, where we will be transferred via a flatbed truck to a jet cargo airplane, flown to Houston, and put into the lunar receiving laboratory... [T]here is a flood of telegrams, newspapers, and letters from all over the world... Most impressive of all is a letter from Charles Lindbergh... With mail like this, and healthy mice, the days race by. Suddenly it is Sunday, August 10- and we are free to go. Our cocoon has burst, for better or worse, and we are officially certified as being fit to rejoin humanity- physically, at least. Carrying a file of telegrams and the Lindbergh letter as my graduation present, I emerge blinking into the Houston night, flashbulbs popping, and get my first smell of the earth in nearly a month..." (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009, pages 443-452).
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