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Philatelic Snippets Anaheim Eclipse Linn’s Stamp News reports that the U.S. $11.75 Earth hologram stamp has been found in a near-eclipse format. Only one of this remarkable error has been reported, advises John Berry. Another reported error in the U.S. Space Achievement issue concerns the "Exploring the Solar System" sheet featuring five pentagonal stamps, where one (only) fully imperforate sheet has been found. Most Confidential - For Members Eyes Only Your intrepid compiler has come across many interesting and odd things in his search through the catalogues etc - on your behalf, but this latest item to be discovered is the most mind boggling so far. As you all know the Russians launched the first rocket in 1957 to put the first ‘satellite’ into orbit followed closely in early 1958 by the USA, but were they the first as the history books would have us believe? Just think a small country being the first in space, beating the two super powers to it and making them the laughing stock of the World. Not possible I hear you say but just such a country did issue a stamp in mid 1957 showing a hither to unknown rocket launch. Even more startling is the background design showing two of these rockets already in orbit, and although the event is cleverly disguised in the design of the stamp there are clear indications that Russia may not have launched the first space rocket after all. Why have we not heard of it before? Why has no one noticed it before? Why do a lot of people disappear every year? If you do not hear from me again please check with the KGB or CIA or if brave enough check RYUKTU sg58 and join me, after all they cannot lock us all up or can they? Harvey Duncan Harvey Sees The Last of MIR ASSS Treasurer Harvey Duncan returned in early April from an extended stay in the Antipodes with this son and family. Here he recounts one highlight......... New Zealand with its clear atmosphere is a marvellous place to observe the heavens and spacecraft as they pass overhead, so I interrupted my holiday occasionally to take advantage of this. So it was that early on the evening of the 22nd March around 6:40pm I found myself atop a hill on the east coast of Christchurch in the company of some twenty oddly assorted men with cameras, binoculars and telescopes plus a lady who had chanced upon this group. Her knowledge of space matters was sparse but greatly enhanced when upon her enquiring about a light seen travelling across the sky from the west she was informed that it was an airplane coming in to land at Christchurch airport. Suddenly about 6:55pm someone "noticed MIR" approaching behind us from the South — strange direction! But this was quickly identified as a polar satellite heading North on its orbit. MIR was scheduled to appear around 7:07pm at an elevation of 7° above the horizon. Suddenly at 7:05pm a light appeared where MIR was expected but lower than anticipated. All instruments were trained on it to discover red and blue flashing lights — another ruddy aircraft! Finally two minutes later another light appeared rapidly catching up with the aircraft apparently below it — yes it was MIR on its final sighting across the heavens before plunging into the Pacific Ocean the following day. It was only visible for a few seconds and too far away for a decent photograph but everyone was satisfied - we had seen it! I also observed the International Space Station and the shuttle speeding across the skies of New Zealand plus several satellites while there. I was also fortunate one evening while walking down to the beach en route for a beer with my son, when we observed almost overhead a polar satellite trace a fiery path across the sky from the north as it plunged through the atmosphere to its final resting place in the southern ocean. If you are interested in observing the space station, shuttle or satellites log on to NASA’s "human space flight site" (on the Links page) click "sightings" then your "town" or the nearest one to you. Here you are given the dates, time, elevation, duration of sightings and direction to look for the various spacecraft in your area.
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