LT. COLONEL ELLISON S. "EL" ONIZUKA - COMMEMORATIVE ENVELOPE SIGNED 11/28/1980 CO-SIGNED BY: H. ANDERSON JR. - HFSID 177979
Sale Price $427.50
The astronaut signs an envelope honoring the space tracking vessel Redstone. A member of the ship's crew has also signed.
Commemorative Envelope signed: "Ellison Onizuka/11-28-80", 6½x3½. Envelope stamped with the logo of the USNS Redstone, Military Sealift Command, and the Space Shuttle Columbia, 20-cent George C. Marshall stamp affixed, postmarked Orlando, Florida, September 29, 1980. Also signed "H. Anderson, Jr." over caption "H. Anderson, Jr./Master." ELLISON ONIZUKA (1946-1986), an Air Force test pilot before becoming a NASA astronaut in 1978, flew aboard Discovery 51-C, January 24-27, 1985, the first shuttle mission with military objectives. Ironically, Challenger was scheduled for Mission 51-C, but thermal tile problems forced substitution of Discovery. Onizuka's next assignment was aboard Challenger 51-L, January 28, 1986, which exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, killing him and his six colleagues. During the early phase of the US space program, several naval vessels were re-equipped to provide tracking and communication support. One of these was the USNS REDSTONE, formerly the fleet oil tanker Mission de Pala, veteran of service in World War II and the Korean conflict. Refitted in 1965, the Redstone became a missile range instrumentation ship, serving in this capacity during the historic flight of Apollo XI to the moon. Ground and ship-based tracking station crews, known as "range rats," were called "the unsung heroes of the space race" by Apollo XI moonwalker Buzz Aldrin. Despite the stamp on this envelope, the Redstone was not used for tracking Space Shuttle missions. No detailed information is available on H. Anderson, but a Master Petty Officer is the highest enlisted rank aboard any US Navy vessel. Fine condition.
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