The Isle of Man Post Office is pleased to present a set of eight stamps titled “One Giant Leap, Exploring the Moon and Space.” The issue continues the story of NASA human spaceflight, which commenced with “One Small Step” issued in April 2019.
It has been our great honour and privilege to work with George Abbey and NASA to create this second set of stamps marking over 50 Years of Lunar Exploration and mankind’s further exploration of space, symbolically themed around that ‘One Small Step’ Neil Armstrong took on the surface of the Moon in 1969 and the ‘Giant Leap’ forward for humanity.
We have studied the Moon for millennia; it governs our tides, our planting seasons, even the rhythm of our bodies, it is an ever-changing constant in our lives, but it is that ‘one small step, but giant leap’ that marked the beginning of human exploration beyond the confines of our planet. Our continued fascination with space has led to satellites and space stations, rockets and now visionary plans for a return to the Moon.
Our stamps feature the Apollo XIII-XVII Missions, Skylab, the Space Shuttle and The International Space Station (ISS), and cover the development of human space flight from the pioneer flights to the Moon, through cooperation with Russia in the later Apollo and Skylab era, to the Space Shuttle, through to the modern era of the permanently occupied ISS. The story is one of ongoing cooperation and endeavour; without that great spirit that exists between the various worldwide space agencies there would not be a current or future international mission. The cover of our issue is graced by Nicole Stott, who served as a flight engineer on the ISS exhibitions.
Our first stamp features the Apollo XIII mission control room during post-recovery ceremonies. Flight Director Gene Kranz stated: “Failure is not an option” and this has become the mantra for NASA’s approach to safe exploration. To the left of the image are the GPS coordinates of the splashdown site for the mission. Upper right we have the launch date of the mission. The Apollo XIII crew is listed and the quote is from Commander Jim Lovell: “GENTLEMEN, IT’S BEEN A PRIVILEGE FLYING WITH YOU”.
Our second stamp features Apollo XIV Commander Alan B. Shepard Jr. standing beside the rickshaw-type equipment carrier unique to this mission. Included upper right is the date and time that the mission launched from Earth. To the bottom left of the image are the GPS coordinates and the name Fra Mauro, the landing point on the Moon. The Apollo XIV crew is listed and the quote is from Lunar Module pilot, Edgar Mitchell: “MY VIEW OF OUR PLANET WAS A GLIMPSE OF DIVINITY”.
Our third stamp features the Lunar Module pilot James B. Irwin near the Lunar Roving Vehicle during the first Apollo XV lunar surface extravehicular activity. Included upper right is the date and time that the mission left the Earth. To the left of the image are the GPS coordinates, and the name Hadley Rille of the landing point on the Moon. The crew is listed and the quote is from Apollo XV Command Module pilot Alan Worden: “THE SKY IS JUST AWASH WITH STARS WHEN YOU’RE ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON”.
Our fourth stamp features Apollo XVI Lunar Module pilot Charles M. Duke Jr. on the lunar surface. Included upper right is the date and time that the mission left the Earth. To the left of the image are the GPS coordinates and the name Descartes, the Apollo XVI landing point on the Moon. The crew is listed and the quote is from Charles Duke: “WE DID NOT FEEL LIKE WE WERE INTRUDERS IN THIS FOREIGN, FOREIGN LAND”.
Our fifth stamp features the Lunar Module pilot Jack Schmitt next to a large boulder during the Apollo XVII mission, the final Apollo mission to the Moon. Included upper right is the date and time that the mission left the Earth. To the left of the image are the GPS coordinates and Taurus-Littrow, the landing point on the Moon. The Apollo XVII crew is listed and the quote is from Commander Gene Cernan: “WE LEAVE AS WE CAME AND, AS WE SHALL RETURN, WITH PEACE, AND HOPE FOR ALL MANKIND”.
Our sixth stamp features the Skylab Space Station taken from the departing Skylab 2 Command/Service Module during Skylab 2’s final fly-around inspection. To the bottom left of the stamp are the coordinates that show Skylab’s initial insertion orbit. Included upper right is the time and date of the launch of the first crewed mission to Skylab. The Skylab 2 crew is listed and the quote is from former NASA astronaut Nicole Stott: “YOU REALIZE YOU’RE NOT FROM FLORIDA OR THE UNITED STATES. YOU’RE AN EARTHLING”. Nicole is a long-time friend of the Isle of Man Post Office.
Our seventh stamp features a view of the Space Shuttle Atlantis as seen from the Russian Mir Space Station during the STS-71 mission. Included upper right is the launch date of the first Space Shuttle Columbia’s STS-1. To the left of the image are the coordinates of the initial orbital insertion. The crew of the first flight of Atlantis STS-51J is listed and the quote is from the STS-63 mission Commander Jim Wetherbee: “IT WAS LIKE DANCING IN THE COSMOS” referring to when Discovery approached within 37 feet of the Mir Space Station for the first ever rendezvous.
Our eighth stamp features the International Space Station taken from the Space Shuttle Atlantis as the orbiting complex and the Shuttle performed their relative separation. Included upper right is the date that the first crew arrived at the Space Station. On the left of the stamp are the coordinates of the ISS (the ZARYA module) initial insertion orbit. The crew from this first mission is listed and the quote is from UK astronaut Tim Peake: “WE ARE A TEAM AND WE WORK HARD TOGETHER. WE ARE ALL EQUAL TO EACH OTHER”. Peake visited the ISS in 2015.
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