OAO-1

Orbiting Astronomical Observatory
(OAO) series satellites

OAO patch
OAO-1patch

This page contains philatelic information on the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO) series satellites. Catalog numbers, years of issue, and notes on the satellites featured are given when available. If readers know of additional information or images, please contact the authors using the e-mail addresses at the bottom of this page.

Launch information
(found elsewhere)
Reference images
(found elsewhere)
Launch covers
(including anniversary-of-launch covers, and launch-related event covers)
(farther below)
Other postal items
(stamps, souvenir sheets, aerogrammes, postal cards, etc.)
(immediately below)
OAO OAO OAO OAO
OAO (on other than OAO launch covers)


Below is a list of OAO-series satellite postal items (stamps, souvenir sheets, aerogrammes, postal cards, etc.).

CountryCatalog NumberType of ItemYear of IssueNotes on Content
Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO)
Benin502 (Mi256)1980OAO-3 / Copernicus
Benin502 proofSigned proof
Bhutan151D (Mi551)Plastic overlay1973OAO-3 / Copernicus
Bhutan151Eg (BL59)MS2 (151D-E), plastic overlay
Central African Republic1174a (Mi1879A)
i1174a (Mi1879B)
One of MS4 (1174 (a-d)) (Mi1879A-1882A)
One of imperforate MS4 (i1174 (a-d)) (Mi1879B-1882B)
1997"OAO-3" / "Copernic"
Chad709a (Mi1511A)
i709a (Mi1511B)
One stamp and in selvedge of MS6 (709 (a-f)) (Mi1511A-1516A)
One stamp and in selvedge of imperforate MS6 (i709 (a-f)) (Mi1511B-1516B)
1997OAO-B (not "OAO-3" / "Copernicus", as in selvedge text)
Chad923 (Mi2259)2001OAO-3 / Copernicus
Chad923a (BL326A)
i923a (BL326B)
SS1 (923)
Imperforate SS1 (i923)
Chad923a fdc
i923a fdc
SS1 and cachet on FDC
Imperforate SS1 and cachet on FDC
Chad923b (BL unlisted)MS4 (4x 923)
Dominica2237c (Mi2904)One of MS6 (2237 (a-f)) (Mi2902-2907)2000OAO-3 / "Copernicus"
Dominica2237 fdcMS6 on FDC
Equatorial GuineaMi1276A
Mi1276B

Imperforate
1978OAO-1 (not "Cosmos-894", as in text)
Franklin Mint (USA)None(Bronze) medallion, also reverse1970s"OAO-3"
Gambia799 (Mi819)1988"OAO-3" / Copernicus
Germany (West)NoneCachet on cover1973"OAO-3" / "Copernicus"
Ghana166a (BL9)In (upper-left) margin of imperforate MS4 (4x 166)1964OAO-21
Ghana166a fdcImperforate MS4 on FDC
Liberia657 (Mi900A)
i657 (Mi900B)

Imperforate
1973"Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO-3) / Copernicus
Maldive Islands488 (BL23)On stamp of SS11974OAO-3 / "Copernicus"
MaliC301 (Mi570)1977OAO-1
Nigeria143a (Mi134)In (upper-left) margin of MS12 (12x 143)1963OAO-21
Nigeriai143aIn (upper-left) margin of "imperforate"2 MS12 (12x 143)
Nigeria144a (Mi135)In (upper-left) margin of MS12 (12x 144)
Nigeriai144aIn (upper-left) margin of "imperforate"2 MS12 (12x 144)
PolandNoneCancel1973OAO-3 / "Copernicus"
Poland1979 (Mi2256)Stamp and label1973OAO-3 / Copernicus
Poland1979a (BL54)MS6 (6x 1979 + 2 labels)
Poland2248a (Mi2539)On (left) selvedge of MS6 (6x 2248 + 2 labels)1977OAO-3 / Copernicus
Poland2366 (Mi2660)Also detail1979OAO-3 / "Copernicus"
Poland2366 fdcStamp on FDC
Poland2369a (BL80)On one of MS5 (2365-2369 + label)
Satellite Beach FL (USA)Localset-C10 (blue)1964"OAO"-1
Satellite Beach FL (USA)Local o/pset-C10 (blue) overprinted in gold1965"OAO"-1
Sharjah42 (Mi54A)
i42 (Mi54B)

Imperforate
1964OAO-21
Sharjah42A (Mi unlisted)
i42A
42 overprinted new currency
i42 overprinted new currency
Sierra Leone622 (BL21)SS11984OAO-B (in a totally inappropriate situation)
SwitzerlandNone(WERABA-73) cachet on cover1973"OAO-3" / "Copernicus"
SwitzerlandNone(WERABA-73) cachet on cover (slightly different)1973"OAO-3" / "Copernicus"
Togo500 (Mi446A)
i500 (Mi446B)

Imperforate
1964OAO-1
Togo504 (Mi450A)
i504 (Mi450B)

Imperforate
Togo500-501+503 fdcOne of three stamps on FDC
Togo500-505 fdcTwo of six stamps on FDC
Togo502+504-505 fdcOne of three stamps on FDC
Togo505a (BL17)Imperforate MS4 (502-505)
Togo505a fdcImperforate MS4 on FDC
United Nations (Geneva)46 fdc (Mi46 fdc)(Space Voyage) cachet on FDC, also detail1975"OAO-3" / "Copernicus"
United StatesNoneMemento1972OAO-3 / "Copernicus"
United States1488 fdc (Mi1095 fdc)(IASP) cachet on FDC1973OAO-B (not "OAO-3" / "Copernicus", as in text)
United StatesNone(Midwest Postage Stamp and Coin Show Station) cancel on (UX65) postal card1973OAO-3 / "Copernicus"
United StatesNone(Midwest Postage Stamp and Coin Show Station) cancel (same) on cover1973OAO-3 / "Copernicus"
United StatesNone(Rumex / Gill Craft) cachet on cover1984OAO-1
Yemen Arab RepublicC86 (Mi1697)1982OAO-21
Yemen Arab RepublicC86 dsDeluxe sheet (C86)
Yemen Arab RepublicC86 proofChromalin-proof

1These items are labeled as OAO-2 satellites based on the rectangular solar panels.
2The "imperforate" sheets from Nigeria, i143a and i144a, are imperforate only in the surrounding margins, otherwise the stamps in both sheets are perforated on all sides.


Below is a list of OAO-series satellite launch covers (including anniversary-of-launch covers, and launch-related event covers).

CountryCancel DateCancel LocationType of ItemNotes on Content
Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO)
1966-04-08: OAO-1
United States1966-04-08Kennedy Space Center FL(Typed) cachet on coverOAO-1 launch
United States1966-04-08Cape Canaveral FL(Sarzin) cachet on coverOAO-1 launch
United States1966-04-08Patrick AFB, FL(SpaceCraft/Swanson) cachet on cover, also insertOAO-1 launch (OAO-2 depicted)
United States1966-04-08Patrick AFB, FL(SpaceCraft/Swanson) cachet (and signature) on cover, also insertOAO-1 launch (OAO-2 depicted)
United States1966-04-08Cape Canaveral FL(SpaceCraft/Swanson) cachet on cover, also insertOAO-1 launch (OAO-2 depicted)
United States1966-04-08Cape Canaveral FL(Astro Covers) cachet on coverOAO-1 launch
United States1966-04-08Cape Canaveral FL (machine cancel)(Centennial) cachet on coverOAO-1 launch
United States1966-04-08Cape Canaveral FL (hand cancel)(Centennial and black rubber-stamp) cachets on coverOAO-1 launch (not "Explorer-31" as in rubber-stamp cachet)
United States1966-04-08Cape Canaveral FL(Orbit Covers) cachet on coverOAO-1 launch
1968-12-07: OAO-2 / Stargazer
United States1968-12-07Patrick AFB, FL (hand cancel)(SpaceCraft/Swanson) cachet on cover, also insertOAO-2 launch
United States1968-12-07Patrick AFB, FL (machine cancel)(SpaceCraft/Swanson) cachet on cover, also insertOAO-2 launch
United States1968-12-07Cape Canaveral FL (hand cancel)(SpaceCraft/Swanson) cachet on cover, also insertOAO-2 launch
United States1968-12-07Cape Canaveral FL (machine cancel)(SpaceCraft/Swanson) cachet on cover, also insertOAO-2 launch
United States1968-12-07Cape Canaveral FL(Centennial red Orbiting Observatories and black text) cachet on coverOAO-21 launch (OAO-2, OSO-1/6 type, and OGO-1/6 type depicted)
United States1968-12-07Cape Canaveral FL(HJM/typed) cachet on coverOAO-2 launch
United States1968-12-07Cape Canaveral FL(Orbit Covers) cachet on coverOAO-2 launch (OAO-1 depicted)
United States1968-12-07Kennedy Space Center FL(Artopages) cachet on coverOAO-2 launch
1970-11-30: OAO-B / Goddard [failed]
United States1970-11-30Cape Canaveral FL(Orbit Covers) cachet on coverOAO-B launch [failed]
United States1970-11-30Patrick AFB, FL(Solar Covers no.?) cachet on coverOAO-B launch [failed]
United States1970-11-30Cape Canaveral FL(C. Swanson/DuBeau? magenta and blue and black rubber-stamp) cachet on (airmail) coverOAO-B launch [failed]
United States1970-11-30Cape Canaveral FL(Andromeda no.21/Riser) cachet on (airmail) cover, also insertOAO-B launch [failed]
United States1970-11-30Kennedy Space Center FL(Blue rubber-stamp and typed) cachet on coverOAO-B launch [failed]
United States1970-11-30Patrick AFB, FL(Whitney purple and cyan) cachet on coverOAO-B launch [failed]
United States1970-11-30Cape Canaveral FL(Whitney purple and cyan) cachet on coverOAO-B launch [failed]
United States1970-11-30Cape Canaveral FL(Centennial) cachet on coverOAO-B launch [failed]
United States1970-11-30Cape Canaveral FL(Space Voyage) cachet on cover, also insertOAO-B launch [failed]; (also "OAO-1 and 2" in insert text)
United States1970-11-30Satellite Beach FL(Space Voyage) cachet on cover, also insertOAO-B launch [failed]; (also "OAO-1 and 2" in insert text)
United States1970-11-30Kennedy Space Center FL (hand cancel)(Space Voyage) cachet on cover, also insertOAO-B launch [failed]; (also "OAO-1 and 2" in insert text)
United States1970-11-30Kennedy Space Center FL (machine cancel)(Space Voyage) cachet on cover, also insertOAO-B launch [failed]; (also "OAO-1 and 2" in insert text)
United States1970-12-01Kennedy Space Center FL (machine cancel)(Space Voyage) cachet on cover, also insertOAO-B launch [failed]; (also "OAO-1 and 2" in insert text)
1972-08-21: OAO-3 / Copernicus
United States1972-08-21Cape Canaveral FL(Space Voyage) cachet on cover, also insertOAO-3 launch
United States1972-08-21Kennedy Space Center FL(Space Voyage) cachet (same) on cover, also insertOAO-3 launch
United States1972-08-21Kennedy Space Center FL(Space Voyage) cachet (different) on cover, also insertOAO-3 launch
United States1972-08-21Greenbelt MD(GSFC Stamp Club) cachet on coverOAO-3 launch
United States1972-08-21Greenbelt MD(GSFC Stamp Club) cachet (and signatures) on coverOAO-3 launch
United States1972-08-21Kennedy Space Center FL(Cygnus no.31/Andromeda/Riser) cachet on (airmail) cover, also insertOAO-3 launch (OAO-B depicted)
United States1972-08-21Kennedy Space Center FL(Solar Covers no.?) cachet on coverOAO-3 launch (OAO-B depicted)
United States1972-08-21Cape Canaveral FL(Orbit Covers) cachet on coverOAO-3 launch (OAO-B depicted)
United States1972-08-21Kennedy Space Center FL(Polonus Philatelic Society) cachet on coverOAO-3 launch (OAO-B depicted)
United States1972-08-21Kennedy Space Center FL(Centennial) cachet on coverOAO-3 launch (OAO-B depicted)
United States1972-08-21Cape Canaveral FL(Sarzin) cachet on coverOAO-3 launch
OAO (on other than OAO launch covers)
United States1962-04-28Vandenberg AFB, CA(SpaceCraft Type-A general-purpose) cachet on KH4-3 launch coverOAO-21
United States1962-05-10Patrick AFB, FL(SpaceCraft Type-A general-purpose) cachet on ANNA-1 launch coverOAO-21
United States1962-05-15Vandenberg AFB, CA(SpaceCraft Type-A general-purpose) cachet on KH5-5 launch coverOAO-21
United States1962-05-29Vandenberg AFB, CA(SpaceCraft Type-A general-purpose) cachet on KH4-4 launch coverOAO-21
United States1962-07-10Patrick AFB, FL(SpaceCraft Type-A general-purpose) cachet on Telstar-1 launch coverOAO-21
United States1962-10-18Cape Canaveral FL(SpaceCraft Type-A general-purpose) cachet on Ranger-5 launch coverOAO-21
United States1964-04-16Wallops Island VA(SpaceCraft Type-A general-purpose cachet (and signature) on (sub-orbital) rocket launch coverOAO
United States1967-10-18Kennedy Space Center FL(Centennial black Orbiting Observatories and black text) cachet on OSO-4 launch coverOAO-21
United States1967-10-18Cape Canaveral FL(Centennial black Orbiting Observatories and black text) cachet on OSO-4 launch cover
United States1968-03-04Cape Canaveral FL(Centennial yellow Orbiting Observatories and black text) cachet on OGO-5 launch coverOAO-21
United States1968-03-04Cape Canaveral FL (machine cancel)(SpaceCraft/Swanson) insert or insert variation (slightly different text arrangement) from OGO-5 launch cover, also front"OAO" and "OAO (Future)"2
United States1968-03-04Cape Canaveral FL (hand cancel)(SpaceCraft/Swanson) insert or insert variation (slightly different text arrangement) from OGO-5 launch cover, also front
United States1968-03-04Patrick AFB, FL (hand cancel)(SpaceCraft/Swanson) insert or insert variation (slightly different text arrangement) from OGO-5 launch cover, also front
United States1968-03-04Patrick AFB, FL (machine cancel)(SpaceCraft/Swanson) insert or insert variation (slightly different text arrangement) from OGO-5 launch cover, also front
United States1971-07-26Moon KY(SpaceCraft Type-A general-purpose) cachet on Apollo-15 launch coverOAO-21

1These items are labeled as OAO-2 satellites based on the rectangular solar panels.
2"OAO (Future)" was likely meant to read "OSO (Future)" to match the design of AOSO.


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Updated: 2018-01-14