Apollo 15 postal covers incident
The Apollo 15 postal covers incident, a 1972 NASA scandal, involved the astronauts of Apollo 15, who carried about 400 unauthorized postal covers into space and to the Moon’s surface on the Lunar Module Falcon. Some of the envelopes were sold at high prices by West German stamp dealer Hermann Sieger, and are known as “Sieger covers” The astronauts were reprimanded by NASA and never flew in space again.
About Apollo 15 postal covers incident in brief
The Apollo 15 postal covers incident, a 1972 NASA scandal, involved the astronauts of Apollo 15, who carried about 400 unauthorized postal covers into space and to the Moon’s surface on the Lunar Module Falcon. Some of the envelopes were sold at high prices by West German stamp dealer Hermann Sieger, and are known as “Sieger covers” The astronauts were reprimanded by NASA and never flew in space again. One of the postal covers given to Sieger sold for over USD 50,000 in 2014. The Apollo 15 mission began when the Saturn V blasted off from KSC on July 26, 1971, and ended when the astronauts and the Command Module Endeavour ended on August 7, 1971. The covers were recovered by the aircraft carrier USS Okinawa on August 7, 1971 and many were retained by the astronauts for many years; Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong kept his until he died, and they were not offered for sale until 2018, when one sold for USD 156,250 when one of the covers was sold for $150,000. The American astronauts participated in creating collectables. Astrophilately was most popular during the years of the Apollo program’s Moon landings from 1969 to 1972. The Americans were allowed to take Personal Preference Kits into space with them. These small bags, with their contents limited in size and weight, contained items the astronauts wanted to be flown as souvenirs of the mission. As the public’s fascination with items flown in space increased, so did their value.
Covers were flown by the crews flown on Apollo 11, Apollo 13 and Apollo 14, and took his to the lunar surface in a PPK. These were often retained by astronauts for years; many were kept by Neil Armstrong for his years of life. The astronauts’ supervisor, Deke Slayton, warned Worden to avoid further commercialization of what he had been allowed totake into space. By 1977, all three former astronauts had left NASA. In 1983, Worden sued, and the covers were returned to them. The covers spent July 30 to August 2 on the Moon inside Falcon. One hundred were sent to Eiermann ; the remaining covers were divided among the astronauts. Apollo 15 carried a total of approximately 641 covers. In late 1971, when NASA learned that the Herrick covers were being sold, the astronauts’ supervisor Deke. Slayton told Worden, “Don’t sell them to anyone.” In September 1972, 15 of the men who entered space as Apollo program astronauts before Apollo 15 had agreed with a West German named Horst Eierman to autograph 500 philatelic items in exchange for USD 2,500. This included a member of each mission between Apollo 7 and Apollo 13. These items were not taken into space for the Apollo 13 mission. They were not included on the list of the personal items he was taking into space; they were kept in a pocket of his space suit.