Manx stamps will travel into space! Really great news in the world of philately

December 20th, 2015 would like to share exciting philatelic news with our readers. Major Tim Peake blasts off into space to begin his six-month mission on the International Space Station (ISS) and will be taking on-board some Manx stamps. He will have seven special covers produced by Isle of Man Post Office, which he will sign and send back all the way from space.

The covers mark Major Peake's journey as the first British astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS). He will sign the seven covers while on the ISS on January 12, the date of the 150th anniversary of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) which has worked with Isle of Man Post Office to bring this project all together.

The covers will then be sent back by supply rocket to Earth.

Once back on Earth, one of the covers will be sent to Isle of Man Post Office and the remaining ones will be distributed to the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), where some of these will then go on display at aviation museums both in the UK and the United States.

The special cover depicts the eight stunning high definition stamp images from the RAeS 150th anniversary collection which is due for release on January 12.

The full set of eight stamps and associated merchandise showcase cutting-edge technology over 150 years, from the conquest of air in 1783 to current developments of the Trent engine and Tim Peake's mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015.

The issue is accompanied with industry commentary from Mr Brian Riddle, chief librarian of the National Aerospace Library.

The journey from blast off to arrival will see Major Peake become the first British European Space Agency astronaut to go to the Space Station, which orbits 250 miles above earth. The journey will take 8mins 48secs for the Soyuz rocket to get into orbit and approximately six hours to catch up with the ISS.

The former Army helicopter pilot from Chichester will travel to the Space Station with one of Russia's most experienced astronauts in the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) programme, Yuri Malenchenko and US Army colonel Timothy Kopra, who has flown into space once before on the space shuttle in 2009.

They will join three crew members already living aboard the ISS, including NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who is there for a year as part of a biomedical experiment involving his twin brother ‒ who also happens to be an astronaut.

The newcomers will be expected to bring themselves up to speed quickly as they are due to undertake a spacewalk scheduled in January as NASA wants to make some repairs to the exterior of the Space Station.

Graham Cregeen MHK, the chairman of Isle of Man Post Office, said: 'Isle of Man Post Office is delighted that Major Peake has agreed to take these seven special covers into space with him and sign them while he is on the ISS.

'They will be literally out of this world covers that will be historic items which is why they will be put on display at various sites internationally.

'Our stamp release with RAeS demonstrates the Isle of Man's many links with space and satellite industries.

'One of the largest manufacturers on the Isle of Man makes environmental controls and life support systems for use on the International Space Station in addition, the Island has a number of approved suppliers to NASA'.