ROCKET MAIL COVERS FLOWN OVER US AND CANADA
Earlier this summer fifty rocket mail covers were flown on board two different ‘model’ rockets in the United States (Warwick Rocketry) and Canada (Wilfred Ashley McIsaac).
Communicating with friends and family today has never been easier. Emailing and texting are a rather convenient and expeditious way to talk with loved ones who reside all around our busy planet. Within only a fraction of a second your message is sent thousands of miles into outer space before bouncing off of a satellite and returning all the way back down to Terra Firma, ending up at precisely the exact person it was intended for wherever they may be. The north pole included.
Seemingly endless chatter through wireless communications is encircling the planet as we speak allowing citizens of earth instant access to just about whomever they’d like. Yes, even the Pope. Any data bits jumping on board this invisible electronic super highway move at the speed of light and arrive in the blink of an eye, actually much faster. At this pace the results convey a rather false impression that everyone’s favorite neighborhood postman, who is only human after all, to be slow and incompetent.
Inquisitive inventors from the early part of the Twentieth Century actually attempted to replicate a similar delivery system of their own to rival today's speedy computers. Faced with the enormous challenge of designing a trouble free long distance express service, the men turned to a crude and mundane machine that was very difficult to power and even harder to control. Perhaps more importantly it was their only option. Yes, a rocket. Incredibly as time went on these parabolic tinkerer’s expected their soaring mailbags to achieve incredible feats of high-speed communications to which the internet would be chasing a century later. Instant messaging.
Of course in the end the internet made out much better than rocket mail did. By the time World War II got underway any hope of delivering mail to the masses by rocket propulsion at any distances were dashed. The airplane seemed destined to remain the fastest delivery service we were ever going to achieve. Although a few launches had taken place throughout Europe and the United States, in the end it was decided rocket mail just was never going to be a practical way of communicating back and forth.
Today we celebrate this fleeting moment in history when it was believed all express messaging in the not too distant future would arrive by means of a giant rocket. It’s true, long before these enthusiasts had an eye on the moon, some of them were planning a shorter more exacting trip to your mailbox.
Earlier this summer three dedicated rocketeers from the United States and Canada encouraged people to remember, if only for a quick moment, as they scroll through their emails and reply to text after text, where this communications revolution and the need for faster and faster service originated from in modern times. Rocket Mail is back.
Two independent launches took place in Ontario Canada and Tulsa Oklahoma using model rockets equipped to carry an additional load. Fifty letters were specially made to ride along inside each vehicle. Sandy and Andrew Warwick (Tulsa) designed the mail covers (above) that include both countries flags and the words ‘USA & CANADA “FRIENDSHIP FLIGHT” JOINT ROCKET LAUNCH’.
On June 24th (2015) the Canadian leg of the project took place at a small airport outside a summer town called Gananoque in eastern Ontario. Wilfred Ashley McIsaac put together a Super X rocket just for the occasion while securing the precious cargo safely inside the nosecone. The six foot high vehicle soared to 1400 feet before crashing nearly ¼ of a mile away in another county. Nevertheless the rocket mail survived and after being officially cancelled from the nearest post office in Gananoque, was sent down to Tulsa for the second stage of the event.
Nearly three weeks later on June 12th the airmail covers were on board another rocket this time in Leonard Oklahoma near Tulsa. Sandy Warwick flew the envelopes inside a German A-2 replica over two separate launches only ten minutes apart. This time after reaching over 600 feet the rocket's main parachute opened and the payload landed safely. Warwick Rocketry is actively launching rocket mail and have been since the 1970s.
The rocket mail covers were then mailed (this time by the US Postal Service) to Gemada stamps in Oregon where they will be made available for sale on Ebay this Fall. Sandy Warwick and Wilfred Ashley McIsaac are also collaborating on a much bigger project named SKY H.A.C. which involves launching a model rocket into outer space from on top of a hot air balloon.
Wilfred Ashley McIsaac