Broadcast 3305 Umberto Cavallaro

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Guest:  Umberto Cavallaro;  Topics: "The Race To The Moon Chronicled In Stamps, Postcards, and Postmarks" by our guest, documenting early space history through stamps, USSR propaganda, US stamp approach and more.

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We welcomed Umberto Cavallaro from Italy to the show to discuss his excellent new book,  "The Race To The Moon Chronicled In Stamps, Postcards, and Postmarks: A Story of Puffery vs. the Pragmatic."  During our one segment 67 minute discussion, we covered the USSR approach to using stamps and related items for propaganda purposes during the early space age period as compared to the US using stamps for documentary-like purposes.  For example, our guest said that the Soviets issued 160 sets stamps.  During the same period of time, the US issues but five sets of stamps.

Umberto spent time explaining the Soviet Union climate of secrecy and the control of space and the stamp propaganda campaign by the KGB.  This was sharply contrasted by what the US did with stamps, primarily to commemorate real missions.  Don't miss what our guest said about this throughout our discussion.  Several email questions were received, including one by Todd asking how the Soviet Union treated Apollo 11 and our moon landings by stamps or otherwise.  As you will hear our guest said they did not make it public as it was part of the secrecy.  Interestingly, Eastern Bloc countries did talk openly about it but not the Soviet Union.  Sarah, a listener from Seattle, asked about he dollar value of the stamps.  You might be surprised by what our guest said in response to Sarah's question.

Umberto said the secrecy climate started to change with the Apollo Soyuz Test Flight given a question that Larry in Denver sent us.  It was the first time that the Soviet Union opened up and it was the first time that Baikonur became public (for more information on this, listen to the Dr. Mike Gruntman Space Show program from April 9, 2019).  Linda followed the Apollo Soyuz Test Flight question by asking if the USSR made a stamp to honor Laika.  The answer was no as the Laika mission was never intended to return the dog to Earth alive.  It was a strange mission and classified.  No stamp in honor of Laika. 

Paul sent in an email asking about other national space agencies and space stamps from around the world.  Our guest briefly mentioned Italy, India, China plus a few others.  He repeated that the KGB controlled the Soviet Union program and the use of stamps, postage marks and related item.  As we were drawing to a close of this program, our guest talked about US technology, military marvels, advanced military and technology accomplishments, missile defense and more - all portrayed through stamps and postmarks.  You don't want to miss this part of our discussion.  The last question that Umberto received was asking him for his favorite of all stamps.  He said it was The First Man On The Moon stamp with the unknown astronaut.  It was on page 313 in the book but the story behind it started n page 310.  If you buy the book, you need to read this story.  By the way, I strongly recommend this book. It is unique, full of historical information and color photos depicting the space history of both the USSR and the US.  Don't forget, if you buy it through Amazon, please use n of The Space Sow/OGLF methods so that Amazon will support The Space Show (see

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show.  You can reach Umberto Cavallaro through me.




The Apollo story via international postage stamps "The Race To The Moon: Chronicled In Stamps, Postcards, And Postmarks"

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26 Apr 2019 Umberto Cavallaro
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