February 3, 2023 — The Space Foundation has given its stamp of approval to the United States Postal Service (USPS) and its 75 years of space-themed postage.
The nonprofit foundation, which was established in 1983 to support a global space ecosystem, is recognizing the U.S. mail carrier as the 2023 winner of the Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award. Named in honor of the late writer, producer and space advocate, the award is presented to individuals or organizations who have significantly contributed to the public awareness of space programs.
“For over 60 years, [the] USPS has celebrated achievements in space exploration, astronomy, space and Earth science, as well as those who pioneered many of these groundbreaking accomplishments,” said Tom Zelibor, Space Foundation CEO, in a statement. “Through the color, creativity and character of space-inspired stamps, USPS has long been established as a storyteller through their visionary work, and its contributions should be celebrated.”
The USPS (previously the Post Office Department until 1971) has celebrated the United States’ achievements in space for more years than the Space Age has existed. Beginning with a 1948 3-cent stamp depicting a V-2 missile launch from Fort Bliss in Texas, the postal service has issued more than 100 space stamps.
Some of the more popular topics over the years have included: the first American in orbit, the first moon landing, the space shuttle, planetary probes and, as of 2011, specific astronauts including Alan Shepard and Sally Ride. The most recent U.S. postage stamp with a spaceflight theme was released in September 2022 to recognize NASA’s newest orbital observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope.