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The bizarre world of philately and space exploration

4 Aug 2011, 07:11 UTC
The bizarre world of philately and space exploration
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You don't have to hang around the space world for long to realise that there is a strange space-stamp connection going on. Stamps, first day covers, rocket mail, stamp-funded space research programmes, it's all there. My erudite Highland friend Fraser MacDonald is into it too, specialising in space stamps from 1933 to 1937 or something equally obscure. Often when I'm looking for pictures of particular spacecraft, the only ones I can find are those on stamps.And OK, I'm not entirely immune from this obsession myself - one of my most prized possessions is a large framed montage of space stamps in the shape of a rocket, made for me by one of my former students.Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden this week released his autobiography, Falling to Earth. He and his fellow astronauts in this mission were given the boot by NASA because they made a secret deal with a German stamp collector to sell 100 of the 400 hundred first day covers they smuggled aboard (they were going to use the proceeds to set up trust funds for their children). It was not the first time that astronauts had taken such things into space, but for some reason NASA decided ...

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