Hubble Stamps First Day of Issue 

(by Jim Rose)

The Hubble First Day if Issue was celebrated by the USPS and Carnegie Observatories at the Carnegie Observatories campus in Pasadena on April 10. The ceremony was open to the public, but a relatively small crowd attended. The keynote speakers were Dr Allen Sandage, the only student Hubble ever had, and a colleague at Carnegie for many years. He gave an interesting talk about the four great contributions Hubble made. I can't remember precisely what they were, but one was the discovery of the expanding universe, and another was [establishing the scale of the Universe and thus] inventing the [later named in his honour] Hubble constant, whose value has been and is continuing to be a fundamental concern of cosmologists today - it defines the age of the universe. [probably the third was establishing the existence of other galaxies with the help of the then brand new 100-inch telescope on Mount Wilson]. He also created the method used today to catalog celestial objects [This was the most likely the fourth]. Sandage was followed by Steve Hawley, the mission specialist on the Hubble launch and the second repair mission who operated the remote arm that placed the telescope in orbit. His video was spectacular, and he graciously answered questions and signed autographs.

The postal service was there and supplied a special cancel which was applied for that day. The Carnegie Institute provided a FDC - #10 envelope with the set of stamps. JPL Stamp Club was invited to participate, and provided a set of regular sized envelopes - one per stamp with a different cachet matching each stamp.

We just found out that the District PO made a boo-boo on the canceller used for the FD event. They were not supposed to use the phrase "First Day of Issue" on the canceller - but they did. So they (the District) pulled the canceller. They are making a new one, presumably without the offending phrase. I don't know what it will look like. Consequently, the covers sent in for cancellation will get the new cancellation. And there will be two cancellations for this event - one of which is no longer available. Fun eh? I can't believe they did this. Yes I can too. Anyway, bye-the-bye, the covers we currently have (we made about 400 sets for the event) have the first cancellation. The covers we will make (we had planned 750 sets total) will have the new cancellation. We will have an Open House at JPL June 3 and 4, and we usually sell most of the current stock there. It may be a couple of weeks until the new cancellation is available.

The Hubble cancellation is (will be) available through Vanessa Alain at the following address

c/o Vanessa Alain
870 S. Raymond
Pasadena, CA 91105

To my knowledge, very few if any covers were cancelled by Vanessa before the original canceller was pulled. So if you have requests in, be patient.

Other Stuff:

We did covers for the SRTM mission - with a special cancel provided by the PO through the special efforts of Steven Stein and Robert Rank. These two have worked hard to get events recognized at Pasadena, Houston, and other locations, and have provided the artwork for the cancellers used over the past few years for Mars, Stardust, and other interesting missions. They also arrange for special cancels to commemorate ISS assembly events at Houston.

Note : Editor's additions are in blue

This page is maintained by Dr R J Smith ( .
Last modified on 28 March, 2000.