Kennedy Space Center post office to close in late September
By Charles J. Vukotich Jr.
The contractor for the Kennedy Space Center post office in Florida recently reported that it “will close permanently near the end of the fiscal year,” which concludes Sept. 30, 2023.
Notice of the closure came through an undated announcement from Thomas A Spaur, the post office’s supervisor. Kennedy Space Center is a substation of the Orlando, Fla., post office operated under contract from NASA.
The closure means there will no longer be a postmark from Kennedy Space Center. Collectors have until Sept. 15 to submit covers for a Kennedy Space Center cancel. The exact final date for Kennedy Space Center cancellations will depend on when the station is actually closed.
Figure 1 shows a cacheted June 5, 2023, launch cover canceled at Kennedy Space Center.
The center reports that philatelic requests will be processed at Titusville, Fla. Requests should be sent to: Titusville PO, Attn: Supervisor, 2503 S. Washington Ave., Titusville FL 32780. Submitted covers will receive a Titusville postmark.
Paul Folsom, the Titusville postmaster, verified all the foregoing information.
Folsom said, “I am interested to see how this unwinds.” He said he has “no problem doing this whatsoever” and is “interested to see how many requests we get.”
Spaur reports that the Kennedy Space Center post office receives around 5,000 postmark requests each year.
Collectors might now question if Titusville is the appropriate cancel to obtain for future Kennedy Space Center launches. The United States Postal Service lists Titusville as the closest post office, approximately 6.9 miles from Kennedy Space Center. It is just across the Indian River from Kennedy Space Center.
Based on longstanding astrophilatelic tradition, a cancel for space launches is from the post office closest to or with a tie to the launch facility.
Based on those criteria, Titusville should be the place to get covers serviced for Kennedy Space Center launches. Alternative arguments might include using Cape Canaveral, but that location has only a sentimental connection to Kennedy Space Center.
Kennedy Space Center mail will go through Cocoa Beach, Fla., on its way to Orlando, Fla., for processing. The physical address for Kennedy Space Center is Merritt Island, Fla.
Cocoa Beach, Orlando and Merritt Island are approximately the same distance from Kennedy Space Center.
Some collectors will remember that Titusville used to supply Kennedy Space Center cancels during the space shuttle program, but this ceased years ago. A July 26, 2005, space shuttle launch cover postmarked at Kennedy Space Center is shown in Figure 2.
In response to a query from Linn’s Stamp News, Jim McKean, senior media relations representative for the USPS, said a Kennedy Space Center postmark will not be available through the Postal Service’s Stamp Fulfillment Service Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City, Kennedy Space Center and Titusville postal representatives I contacted all agree that the Kennedy Space Center postmark will disappear with the closing of that contract station.
The post office at Kennedy Space Center was founded July 1, 1965, as a contract station of Orlando. Because the center was in a restricted area, only postal employees could visit the Kennedy Space Center post office. At that time, the Kennedy Space Center post office would accept only mail requests, with a limit of five addressed covers per person.
On Nov. 14, 1969, with the launch of Apollo 12, that policy changed. A drop box was established at the visitors’ information center for the deposit of mail. Bulk requests for postmarks from dealers also began to be honored. It is unclear when the drop box ceased to exist, but it has not been available for some time.
The Kennedy Space Center contract station had been operated since Oct. 1, 2013, by Post Masters Mail and Print Services, a part of the Anthony Wayne Rehabilitation Center, a nonprofit company that provides high quality services with exceptional customer care, while also providing job opportunities for people with disabilities, including service-disabled veterans.
In my experience, Spaur and his staff have always been very helpful.
When submitting a request for a postmark, please consider including a thank-you note to the Kennedy Space Center post office staff for their long service to astrophilately. Spaur reported to me that he and his staff will be looking for jobs.
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