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ISS: from 2012 to PRESENT

After 2011 with the end of the Space Shuttle program all the manned flights were performed by three modifications of Soyuz spacecraft – TMA, TMA-M and MS. So on one hand there are less US designed covers to collect, from the other Soyuz dedicated inventory has been greatly improved with the appearance of “new guys in the block” – Russian cachet makers. The postmarks remain the same – Baikonur for launch, Korolev and Houston for mission control and Araklyk for landing, not to forget about Star City for the after-flight welcome event.

Flown space covers have been always a first priority but they cannot be commercialized openly due to the legal issues and therefore are hard to obtain. Energia and Roscosmos covers are sent to ISS in quantities of 50-60 per flight as well as privately designed covers. Sometimes I succeed to grab one or two, sometimes not. Since 2011 a new turn appeared in flown postmarks – ISS special cancellations, starting with the one dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin flight.

I have been started to collect astrophilately from around 2014 and became a real fan of private cachets in 2015, thus there are many gaps associated with earlier Soyuz launched but they will be filled with the course of time. Autographs have never touched me but I try to obtain at least one set for each crew/mission for the sake of astophilatelic coverage.

ISS 33 / Soyuz TMA-05M

Yuri Malenchenko
Sunita L. Williams
Akihiko Hoshide

ISS 33-34 / Soyuz TMA-06M

Oleg Novitskiy
Evgeny Tarelkin
Kevin A. Ford

ISS 34 / Soyuz TMA-07M

Roman Romanenko
Thomas H. Marshburn
Chris A. Hadfield

On July 16, 2013 during his second EVA astronaut Luca Parmitano came perilously close to drowning in space after more than a liter of water leaked into his helmet. 

Forty-four minutes into the walk, the Italian astronaut noticed the back of his head was wet. Ten minutes later he reported the amount of water was increasing. By the time mission control decided to abort the mission 23 minutes later, large droplets of water were starting to cover Parmitano's eyes, nose and ears as he made his way toward the air lock. Somehow 1 1/2 liters of water had made it into his helmet.

This was one of the closest calls to lose an astronaut during spacewalk in NASA history.

ISS 36 / Soyuz TMA-8M

Pavel Vinogradov
Aleksandr Misurkin
Christopher J. Cassidy


ISS 36-37 / Soyuz TMA-9M
Fyodor Yurchikhin
Karen L. Nyberg
Luca Parmitano

ISS 37 / Soyuz TMA-10M

Oleg Kotov
Sergey Ryazansky
Michael S. Hopkins

ISS 38 / Soyuz TMA-10M
Oleg Kotov
Sergey Ryazansky
Michael S. Hopkins

ISS 38-39 / Soyuz TMA-11M
Mikhail Tyurin
Richard A. Mastracchio
Koichi Wakata

ISS 39-40 / Soyuz TMA-12M
Aleksandr Skvortsov
Oleg Artemyev
Steven R. Swanson

ISS 40 / Soyuz TMA-13M
Maksim Surayev
Gregory R. Wiseman
Alexander Gerst

ISS 41 / Soyuz TMA-14M

Aleksandr Samokutyaev

Yelena Serova

Barry E. Wilmore

Interesting point regarding ISS "visitor" Aidyn Aimbetov who came aboard Soyuz TMA-18M, besides being the first KazCosmos cosmonaut he was the fourth choice for the "tourist" chair. The primary tourist was planned to be British singer Sara Brightman but she withdrew from training, her backup — Japanese businessman Satoshi Takamatsu was not ready by the launch, then came Russian businessman Filaret Galchev but he dropped as well due to lack of time for training. Finally the spot was taken by KazCosmos.

One cover shows the original emblem of Soyuz TMA-18M with Sarah Brightman name but only two signatures – Volkov and Morgensen. I will try to get Sarah’s to complete the story.

ISS 41-42 /Soyuz TMA-14M
Aleksandr Samokutyayev
Yelena Serova
Barry E. Wilmore

ISS 42-43 / Soyuz TMA-15M
Anton Shkaplerov
Samantha Cristoforetti
Terry W. Virts

ISS 43 / Soyuz TMA-16M
Gennady Padalka
Mikhail Korniyenko
Scott J. Kelly

A letter written by Gennady Padalka while commanding ISS Expedition 44. The letter was dedicated to the 40th anniversary of Apollo-Soyuz flight and Gennady record of highest cumulative number of days in space. After being in space and getting all relevant postmarks the letter was posted from Star City to USA. Unfortunately several drops of rain damaged the cover giving it a “harsh serviced” look.

ISS 44 / Soyuz TMA-16M
Gennady Padalka
Mikhail Korniyenko
Scott J. Kelly

ISS 44-45 / Soyuz TMA-17M
Oleg Kononenko
Kimiya Yui
Kjell N. Lindgren

ISS 45-46 / Soyuz TMA-18M
Sergey Volkov

ISS 46 /Soyuz TMA-19M
Yuri Malenchenko
Timothy Peake
Timothy L. Kopra

The special cancellations with red date were privately arranged by Gennady Padalka.

Special cover commemorating Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko 1 year long stay in space through the ISS 43, 44, 45 and 46 expeditions. The cover signed by all crew members:

Scott Kelly (ISS 43/44/45/46)

Mikhail Kornienko (ISS 43/44/45/46)

Anton Shkaplerov (ISS 43)

Terry Virts (ISS 43)

Samantha Cristoforetti (ISS 43)

Gennady Padalka (ISS 43/44)

Oleg Kononenko (ISS 44/45)

Kimiya Yui (ISS 44/45)

Kjell Lindgren (ISS 44/45)

Sergey Volkov (ISS 45/46)

Yuri Malenchenko (ISS 46)

Tim Peake (ISS 46)

Timothy Kopra (ISS 46),

Aidyn Aimbetov (Soyuz TMA-18M)

ISS 47 /Soyuz TMA-19M
Yuri Malenchenko
Timothy Peake
Timothy L. Kopra


ISS 47-48 /Soyuz TMA-20M
Aleksey Ovchinin

Oleg Skripochka
Jeffrey N. Williams

ISS 48 /Soyuz MS-01
Anatoli Ivanishin
Takuya Onishi
Kathleen Rubins

ISS 49 /Soyuz MS-01
Anatoli Ivanishin
Takuya Onishi
Kathleen Rubins

ISS 49 - 50 / Soyuz MS-02
Sergey N. Ryzhikov

Andrei Borisenko
Robert S. Kimbrough

ISS 50 / Soyuz MS-03

Thomas Pesquet

Peggy Whitson

Oleg Novitskiy

ISS 53 /Soyuz MS-05
Sergey Ryazansky

Randy Bresnik
Paolo Nespoli

ISS 53 - 54 / Soyuz MS-06

Alexander Misurkin

Mark Vande Hei
Joseph Acaba

ISS 54 / Soyuz MS-07

Anton Shkaplerov

Norishige Kanai
Scott D. Tingle

ISS 56 - 57 / Soyuz MS-09

Sergey Prokopyev

Alexander Gerst

Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor

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