I.S.S. at Last!
No one interested in space flight can have missed it, delayed, behind schedule, but on 20.11.98 we had the start of the International Space Station, the most complex space project yet, it wont be fully operational until 2004, at the earliest. The venture is certain to bring about an abundance of philatelic novelties in the coming years.
The flight control centre in Houston Texas brought out a special postmark for the new station in May 1998 which incorporated in the design the smaller and very first American space station Skylab.
The Arbeitsgruppe Philatelie in the N.E. German City of Neubrandenburg issued on 31.10.98 their own illustrated postal cover to celebrate Space Flight Day. It has a 100pf imprinted stamp showing Elizabeth Scwarzhaupt and in addition to the left of the cover an artists impression of the new space station. The special postmark shows the Russian space station the ageing MIR, stilling circling Earth against all the odds!
Only 200 copies of this attractive item have been released, but you might still get one by writing to former ASSS member Ralf Schulz, whose address is on the shown cover.
The franking impression(in red in fact) comes also from Hoyerswerda in Germany. The postmark was issued on 20.11.98 the launch date of the Russian-built Zarya (Dawn) module, the first of Russia’s contributions to the ISS, to be followed by an American crew linking up in the unity module, a long six-porthole connecting passageway (see the following illustrative cachet):