Missile Mail, USS Barbero
The first successful delivery of mail by a rocket in the United States was made on 23 February 1936, when two rockets that were launched from the New Jersey shore of Greenwood Lake landed on the New York shore, some 300 meters away.
In 1959 the US Navy submarine USS Barbero assisted the Post Office Department, (predecessor to the United States Postal Service (USPS)) in its search for faster mail transportation with the only delivery of "Missile Mail". On 8 June 1959, Barbero fired a Regulus cruise missile — its nuclear warhead having earlier been replaced by two Post Office Department mail containers. Twenty-two minutes later, the missile struck its target. The Regulus cruise missile was launched with a pair of Aerojet-General 3KS-33,000 solid-propellant boosters. A turbojet engine sustained the long-range cruise flight after the boosters were dropped.
The USPS had officially established a branch post office on Barbero and delivered some 3000 pieces of mail to it before Barbero left Norfolk, Virginia. The mail consisted entirely of commemorative postal covers addressed to President of the United States Dwight Eisenhower and other government officials. Their postage (4 cents domestic, 8 cents international) had been cancelled "USS Barbero Jun 8 9.30am 1959" before the boat put to sea. In Mayport, the Regulus was opened and the mail forwarded to the post office in Jacksonville, Florida, for sorting and routing.
Back to History Index