Pioneering Indian aerospace engineer (1891-1951) who developed techniques in delivering mail by rocket. Indian rocket mail cover with an affixed cachet reading "Ship to Shore, 1st Rocket Despatch," postmarked September 30, 1934, signed in fountain pen by "Chas. Patton," captain of the D. V. Pansy, and "Stephen H. Smith," addressed to "Mr. Stephen H. Smith, The Lighthouse, Saugor Island, Bay of Bengal." In fine condition. In the ten-year span of Smith's experiments (1934-1944), he made some 270 launches, including at least 80 rocket mail flights. On September 30, 1934, he launched his first mail rocket, using a rocket made locally by the Orient Firework Company of Calcutta. Carrying 143 of these covers, the rocket left the D.V. Pansy and exploded mid-air, scattering the mail over the sea; 140 covers were recovered and taken to the Saugor Lighthouse, where the keeper postmarked the mail. Smith would go on to become the first rocket experimenter to successfully transport foodstuff, medicine, and animals via rockets.
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