When the Space Shuttle Endeavour went up into space for the STS-47 mission, it carried the first Boy Scouts of America Exploring Division experiments. The experiments were in the "Get Away Special" (GAS) G-102 canister mounted on the GAS bridge in the shuttle bay with Spacelab J.
GAS G-102 is known as "Project POSTAR" to the Explorers and stands for "post" and "star." POSTAR started in late 1978 when the Exploring Division of the BSA announced the opportunity for Explorer posts to design experiments to fly on the space shuttle. Exploring is the young adult, co-educational division of the BSA.
TRW, Inc. paid $10,000 for the GAS G-102. Approximately 200 posts from around the country expressed interest in completing an experiment, and 38 submitted a first phase proposal. A panel of scientists and engineers from NASA, TRW, and the BSA, headed by astronaut James A. Lowell, commissioned 18 experiments to the second phase. In 1982, 11 experiments were selected to fly on a mission. NASA Explorer Post 1275 located at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland integrated all the experiments into the GAS canister.
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986 delayed indefinitely the launch of POSTAR. Finally, after more than a decade, POSTAR was launched on September 12, 1992. The flight experiments carried aloft were:
- Capillary Pumping, Post 9005, St Louis, MO
- Cosmic Ray, Ship 101, Bridgeport, CT
- Crystal Growth and Emulsions, Post 310, Trumbull, CT
- Fiber Optics, Post 475, Indianapolis, IN
- Floppy Disk, Post 1022, Columbus, MD
- Fluid Droplets, Post 822, Denver, CO
Explorer Post 475 serviced Project POSTAR covers at the launch. A filler is included in the covers telling about the project. Most of the covers use the 1991 US Space booklet stamp issue.
A very limited number of cachets were prepared with the 1981 US Space Achievement issue and the 1985 US 75th Anniversary of BSA issue.
The launch of STS-47 was witnessed by 21 members of Post 475. It was a perfect launch with no delays. After recovery, Project POSTAR traveled around the country and to the 1993 National Scout Jamboree. It now resides in the National Scout Museum at Murray, Kentucky.
SOSSI Journal Volume 43, Number 6, June 1994