That Time the U.S. Postal Service Tried Missile Mail (June 8, 1959) | Summary and Q&A

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June 8, 2018
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That Time the U.S. Postal Service Tried Missile Mail (June 8, 1959)

TL;DR

Rocket mail was a brief experiment in the 1950s where the US Postal Service used missiles to deliver mail, mainly as a show of force during the Cold War.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What were some early attempts at rocket mail delivery?

Early attempts at rocket mail delivery were made in Germany and Tonga, with Germany suggesting the idea of using artillery shells loaded with letters and Tonga using Congreve rockets to send and receive mail.

Q: What were the challenges with rocket mail delivery?

Rocket mail delivery faced challenges such as inaccuracy and unreliability of rockets, as illustrated by British officer Alexander Cavil Mercer's experience during the Waterloo campaign in 1815.

Q: Why did rocket mail delivery experiments fade away?

Rocket mail delivery experiments faded away due to various reasons, including lack of funding and the onset of World War II, which shifted priorities away from rocket technology.

Q: Has there been any recent progress in rocket mail delivery?

X Core aerospace demonstrated the potential of reusable rockets to carry mail for the USPS, suggesting that in the future, rocket mail delivery might become economically viable.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • In the 1950s, the US Postal Service launched a missile laden with mail as a way to test the feasibility of rocket mail delivery.

  • Rocket mail delivery experiments had been attempted before in Germany and Tonga with varying degrees of success.

  • Despite the successful launch and delivery of mail via missile, rocket mail delivery never caught on and remains a pie-in-the-sky dream.

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