December 6, 2021

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Commander’s cover: An envelope’s flight through space, time and eBay

5 min read

The last time that Richard Truly saw it, it was on board the space shuttle Challenger 38 years ago.

The small envelope, bearing a $9.35 Express Mail stamp and a special Aug. 14, 1983 postmark identifying it as “Space Mail Orbited Via STS-8,” was then newly-autographed by Truly and his four STS-8 crewmates. Although there were more than 260,000 similar envelopes flying on that same mission, this one was special: serialized on its back as number “3,” it was one of only 10 to be signed by all five astronauts and it was earmarked for Truly.

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