Arago: Exhibits

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Canceling Stamps On The Moon

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 Pouch, inkpad & postmark

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)