Celebrating NASA & Apollo 11 Through Stamps

Canceling Stamps on the Moon

8-cent Space Achievement Decade Issue pair
The 8-cent Space Achievement Decade stamps were issued August 2, 1971.
Apollo 15 Lunar Mail pouch
This mail pouch and stamp pad went to the Moon and back on the Apollo 15 mission; the cancellation device is a duplicate. The original reportedly was left on the Moon in the section of the lunar lander that remained behind.
Courtesy of the United States Postal Service

On July 26, 1971, another lunar mission, Apollo 15, launched from the Kennedy Space Center. Four days later, astronauts David Scott and James Irwin stepped out of the Lunar Module onto the surface of the Moon while astronaut Alfred Worden orbited above them in the Apollo 15 Command Module.

At the end of Scott and Irwin’s third and final Moon walk, Commander Scott took out a cloth pouch containing an ink pad, a handstamp cancel and an envelope franked with a die proof of two new stamps commemorating the decade of Space Achievement from 1961-1971. The two stamps were issued to the public the same day back on Earth. The cloth pouch, known as an auxiliary storage container (Lunar Postal Kit) was made of a beta cloth (a combination of fiberglass, aluminum foil and asbestos). It was 9 ½ inches long, six inches wide, and four inches deep.

Apollo 15 Lunar Mail cover
This cover was canceled on the Moon by astronaut Dave Scott on August 2, 1971, during the Apollo 15 mission. It carries two advance, hand-perforated die proofs of stamps celebrating the U.S. space program. Smudges at the bottom left are believed to be “thumbprints” Scott made with moon dust using his space-suit glove.
Courtesy of the United States Postal Service
"It Even Works In A Vacuum"
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[Commander David Scott, upon opening the Lunar Postal Kit on the surface of the Moon:]

Dave Scott: Got a good picture, Joe?

Joe Allen: Good picture, Dave, have at it.

Dave Scott: Okay. To show that our good Postal Service has deliveries any place in the universe, I have the pleasant task of canceling, here on the Moon, the first stamp of a new issue dedicated to commemorate United States achievements in space. And I'm sure a lot of people have seen pictures of the stamp. I have the first one here on an envelope. At the bottom it says, "United States in Space, a decade of achievement," and I'm very proud to have the opportunity here to play postman. I pull out a cancellation device. Cancel this stamp. It says, " August the second, 1971, first day of issue. What could be a better place to cancel this stamp than right here at Hadley Rille. By golly, it even works in a vacuum.