USA 1969 Apollo 11

On July 16, 1969, the 363 ft tall Apollo 11 spacecraft was launched from the Kennedy Space Center to accomplish its mission - land two men on the lunar surface and return them safely to Earth. The spacecraft carried a crew of three; Mission Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin E. Aldrin Jr.

Apollo 11 official NASA cachet on cover with a Kennedy Space Center machine cancel. Alec Bartos painted this cover with contents carried in Armstrong's Personal Preference Kit (PPK) - a piece of wood from the Wright brothers' 1903 airplane's left propeller, a piece of muslin fabric from its upper left wing, a gold olive branch pin that was left on the Moon's surface.

Signed by Guenter Wendt, the Pad Leader, the last man to see the crew before liftoff.

Apollo 11 crew-signed "Type 2" Dow-Unicover insurance cover with an "Apollo 8" 8¢ U.S. stamp affixed and cancelled July 16, 1969 (the date of the launch) with Kennedy Space Center machine cancel. Signed by Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr.

Tracking the Apollo 11 spacecraft while in the Earth orbit.

The NASA Manned Space Flight Network (MSFN) was a world-wide network of stations that tracked the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Skylab missions. Most MSFN stations were only needed during the launch, Earth orbit and landing phases of the lunar missions, but three "deep space" sites with larger antennas provided continuous coverage during the trans-lunar, trans-earth and lunar mission phases. The three sites form the NASA Deep Space Network were:
Top: The Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex (GDSCC), commonly called the Goldstone Observatory, is located in the Mojave Desert near Barstow in the U.S. state of California.
Centre: The Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex (MDSCC) is a ground station located in Robledo de Chavela, Spain.
Bottom: The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC) is an Earth station in Australia located at Tidbinbilla in the Australian Capital Territory. DSS-42 antenna was the original antenna constructed at the complex.

On July 19, after Apollo 11 had flown behind the moon out of contact with Earth, came the first lunar orbit insertion maneuver.
Apollo 11 crew-signed "Type 1" insurance cover cancelled on moon landing day, 20 July 1969. This cover comes with a letter of provenance from Buzz Aldrin.

Apollo 11 First Man On the Moon (NASA Local Post) cover, postmarked Houston 20 July 1969, signed by Neil Armstrong.

At 12.56 pm on July 21, 1969 Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), 600 million people around the world watched Neil Armstrong first step on the Moon. Eight and a half minutes after those first historic images were broadcast, the television images received by the 64-metre CSIRO Parkes radio telescope was then selected by NASA as the source of the following two hours and 12 minutes of live broadcast as the Apollo 11 astronauts explored the Moon surface.
Above cover with a stamped CSIRO ANRAO Parkes cachet, cancelled at Parkes on July 21, 1969 at 12:30pm.

Apollo 11 lunar module, Eagle, took off from the moon at 1:54 p.m. on July 21, 1969, leaving its descent stage behind as planned. To lighten their load on the ride into orbit, the astronauts left several other items behind, including two still cameras, their portable life support systems and their boots.

It took four hours for Eagle to meet up with Columbia, the command module, which the astronauts ride back home. The two spacecraft docked at 5:35 p.m., reuniting the Apollo 11 crew. At 7:42 p.m., the astronauts jettisoned Eagle and getting ready for the trip back to Earth. At 12:56 a.m. on July 22, Apollo 11 began its journey home.
Columbia entered Earth's atmosphere at 12:35 p.m. on July 24, 1969, at times heating up so much that communications were interrupted by the supercharged atmosphere surrounding the spacecraft. Houston Mission Control starts calling Apollo 11 after 4 minutes of blackout as the spacecraft re-enters earth.

After the drogue chute deployed, the recovery forces took over the airwaves to communicate with the Apollo 11 crew. Above are the two type of USS Hornet machine cancels that were used to postmark the covers. First cover was signed by William R Carpentier, the NASA flight surgeon who gave the astronauts a verbal physical check when they were hoisted up to the recovery helicopter one at a time.

Apollo 11 USS Hornet Captain's cover with USS Hornet hand cancel. 6,000 copies of this envelope were produced by the ship's commanding officer. Signed by Captain Carl J. Seiberlich.

Apollo 11 USS Hornet hand cancel variation with time slug above the year.

Apollo 11 USS Hornet hand cancel variation with missing time slug.

Apollo 11 PRS USS Hornet hand cancel on a Beck printed cachet cover B802.

While the Hornet was the primary recovery ship, the Arlington provided communications support. After the Apollo 11 recovery the Hornet and Arlington steamed for Pearl Harbour with the Hornet arriving first. While most USS Arlington ship covers have a Honolulu postmark, only a small quantity cancelled with "USS Arlington" as shown here.

Apollo 11 covers signed by Neil Armstrong and Wernher von Braun. A wooden plaque, 9" x 11.75", featuring two signed Apollo 11 event covers and four space-related U.S. stamps, all laminated to a red album page, covered with Plexiglas, and mounted to the plaque along with a space medallion. There are two signed items: (1) An Apollo 11 launch cover with a July 16, 1969 pictorial cancel from the Kennedy Space Center. It has a color cachet issued by the Bendix Company's Launch Support Division and is addressed to Honorable Harry Flood Byrd, Jr., a U.S. senator from Virginia. Signed by Neil Armstrong and Wernher von Braun. (2) An unaddressed Apollo 11 splashdown cover with a July 24, 1969 Cape Canaveral cancellation and a color cachet depicting the astronauts and the recovery in the Pacific. Signed by Neil Armstrong. - Heritage Auction