In honor of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing in 1969, The U.S. Postal Service revealed two new stamp designs Wednesday, March 27.
The stamp designs were made to commemorate the United States’ historic milestone during the era of the space race in the 60s. The stamp’s issue ceremony date is yet to be set but will be released with additional details in the near future.
One stamp features a photograph of Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin in his spacesuit on the surface of the moon, taken by astronaut Neil Armstrong. The other stamp is a photograph of the moon taken in 2010 by Gregory H. Revera of Huntsville, Alabama, showing the landing site of the lunar module in the Sea of Tranquility. The site is indicated on the stamp by a dot. The U.S. Postal Service released stamps in 1969, 1989 and during the 25th anniversary of the moon landing in 1994 with an image of astronauts on the moon to mark the significant moment in American history.
According to the Smithsonian, the moon landing stamp art with was done by Paul Calle (in 1969) and his son Chris Calle (in 1989). For the 25th anniversary in 1994, father and son worked together.
About the moon landing
America’s involvement in the space race began in 1961 with President John F. Kennedy made an appeal to Congress that America should land on the moon and return to Earth by the end of the decade. The Cold War era sparked a interest in space development as the United States trailed the Soviet Union, according to History.com. By 1966, after five years of research and development, NASA conducted the first unmanned Apollo mission. In 1967 during a launch pad test, a fire broke out at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, killing three astronauts, according to History.com.
“Despite the setback, NASA and its thousands of employees forged ahead, and in October 1968 Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission, orbited Earth and successfully tested many of the sophisticated systems needed to conduct a moon journey and landing,” History.com notes. “In December of the same year, Apollo 8 took three astronauts to the dark side of the moon and back, and in March 1969 Apollo 9 tested the lunar module for the first time while in Earth orbit. That May, the three astronauts of Apollo 10 took the first complete Apollo spacecraft around the moon in a dry run for the scheduled July landing mission.”
On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 left Kennedy Space Center with Armstrong, Aldrin and Michael Collins. By July 19, Apollo 11 entered lunar orbit, and the next day, the lunar module landed, according to History.com. The astronauts’ spacecraft touched the surface of the moon July 20, 1969 at approximately 4:17 p.m.
“Armstrong immediately radioed to Mission Control in Houston, Texas, a now-famous message: ‘The Eagle has landed,’” History.com notes. About six hours later, Neil Armstrong uttered his famous quote, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The Apollo 11 mission safely returned to Earth four days later, landing in the Pacific Ocean July 24 around 12:50 p.m.