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Wilfred Ashley McIsaac's Posts

1936 ZUCKER STAMPS ROCKET MAILED IN CANADA (2013-01-18 15:35:35)

2013-01-18 15:35:35

November 2012

A private rocket experimenter in Canada named Wilfred Ashley McIsaac launched the last of his high powered rockets on November 6th carrying Canadian mail on board. A total of thirty-one letters using a variety of original 1936 Gerhard Zucker ‘ Canadian Rocket-Flight’ postage stamps have taken flight in four separate rocket flights at an old World War II relief airfield outside Gananoque, Ontario near The Thousand Islands, Canada.
The rocket mail program commenced on October 31st, 2011 with the launch of an ARCAS high powered rocket carrying seven mail covers with Zucker ‘First Canadian Rocket-Flight’ postage attached. According to the ‘Air Mails Of Canada And Newfoundland’ the stamps are the first rocket mail postage made for Canada and were intended to take flight in an actual rocket. However Gerhard Zucker, the German businessman/rocket engineer responsible for the stamps was arrested by the Gestapo under Adolf Hitler's orders and unable to leave the country. A reluctant friend named Karl H. Hennin Sr. was recruited by Zucker to travel to New York in his place. Hennin arrived in time for the 1936 Philatelic Exhibition on Lexington Avenue with the Canadian stamps, cachets, and even one of Zuckers mail rockets. Worried of Nazi reprisals however Hennin kept a low profile during his stay in New York while the Zucker collection vanished into obscurity.
No rocket mail stamps in Canada’s history had ever taken flight in a rocket until McIsaac’s launch seventy-five years later using these very same stamps. The Halloween 2011 launch was fired in a parabolic trajectory before reaching an estimated 2500 feet in altitude while crossing county lines and eventually returning back to the airfield in Gananoque, Ontario. The incredible flight was captured by an onboard HD Gopro camera which has since gone viral on YouTube.
Three more mail flights have taken place in 2012 behind the Aerotech Astrobee D rocket and the upgraded Astrobee D III, and Astrobee D IV one and ½ stage rockets designed by McIsaac himself. On June 29th the Astrobee D III crashed into a cornfield outside Gananoque after suffering from strap-on booster ignition problems. The rocket as well as two onboard cameras were destroyed in the crash with damages estimated at over $700. Seven pieces of mail hidden in a protected partition received only minor damage.
Tuesdays launch had similar booster problems however this time the rocket activated its recovery system on time and the upper payload returned safely to the ground under a bright orange parachute. Twelve pieces of mail were recovered immediately from the cargo bay and shuttled across the airfield to the nearest post office in the small town of Gananoque where they were either cancelled or simply mailed through the Canadian postal service. More test flights with the Astrobee D IV are expected to take place in the future although the rocket's payload bay will carry only ballast weight.
The unique covers from McIsaac’s Canadian rocket mail program are now available on Ebay through Gemada Stamps and come with a certificate of authenticity.  
   
   
 

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