Space in Russia (4)
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Buran flew once (on November 15th 1988) and with the booster rocket capable of placing 100 tonnes of payload into orbit it could not be bettered, Both are “sleeping” now and perhaps they they will never be kissed alive again. The Soviets were so proud of Buran back in the 1980’s that their Post Office issued a Buran commemorative cover. The two postmarks of the Baikonur launch site commemorate the launch and landing of the shuttle. The cover bears a 1984 Gagarin stamp and a Glavkosmos cancel, the Russian Space Agency. The cancel reads “General Cosmos Experimental Flight 15.11.88 Orbital Rocket Buran. ” The inscription on the printed cachet reads “Multipurpose Reusable Cosmic Ship.” The covers were numbered from 1000 to 9000 and 1652 is shown here.
These 8000 covers represented the entire number of covers produced for the collector market, but no covers were flown. The back of each contains a certificate authenticating the item. Postal authorities issued stamps and a sheet for Energiya/Buran as did some East European countries, but postal stationery was issued as well, as we see below. The stationery was sent by registered mail from Baikonur and bears two postmarks, both from June 2, 1990. On this day at Baikonur a jubilee cancel “35 Years Cosmodrome Baikonur” was issued. On the second cancel of the additional 5k we see the transport by train of a rocket booster to the launch pad, so there are four philatelic items in one – an illustrated envelope (issued 9.4.90,) two pictorial cancels and an R-mail cancel from Baikonur.
Below is a picture post card issued in 1963 (!) depicting a rocket to the moon. The imprinted red 3 k stamp also shows a moonshot by rocket, like the violet stamp issued in 1961. This card issued for the 46th anniversary of the Russian October Revolution, was sent by registered mail from Leningrad (now Petersburg) to Moscow at an extra cost of 7 k as the added stamps tells us. (You can find more of these and other space related cards in the H.RPfau Catalogue Sowjetunion 4, which is a must for every Astrophilatelists.)
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