50th Anniversary of U.S. Human Spaceflight

Two Events Commemorate 50th Anniversary of U.S. Human Spaceflight WASHINGTON — NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first U.S. manned spaceflight during two events this week around the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA Television will carry both events live. On Wednesday, May 4, at 2 p.m. EDT, the U.S. Postal Service will unveil two new stamps at the Rocket Garden of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, located on State Road 405.

 

Journalists interested in covering the event should contact Andrea Farmer at 321-449-4318 or Jillian McRae at 321-449-4273. Media need to arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony.

One stamp commemorates NASA’s Project Mercury and Alan Shepard’s historic launch on May 5, 1961 aboard the spacecraft Freedom 7.

The second stamp honors NASA’s MESSENGER, which reached Mercury in March to become the first spacecraft to orbit the planet. The two missions frame a remarkable 50-year period in which America advanced space exploration through more than 1,500 manned and unmanned flights.

Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter and members of the Shepard family will join Bolden at the stamps’ unveiling and at a 50th anniversary ceremony on Thursday, May 5, at 9 a.m., at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

To cover the event, news media representatives need to be at the Air Force Badging Office (Gate 1) at 6:30 a.m. for transportation to Complex 5/6.

Mission badges for the STS-134 shuttle mission will be honored for this event. Reporters who do not have one must contact Christopher Calkins at 321-494-7732 or Auburn Davis at 321-494-6489 to arrange for media credentials.

The Thursday event includes a re-creation of Shepard’s flight and recovery, as well as a tribute to his contributions as a moonwalker on the Apollo 14 lunar mission. KSC Director and former astronaut Bob Cabana and more than 200 workers from the original Mercury program, also will be in attendance. For more information about Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, visit: http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com

These are the Mercury Project and MESSENGER Mission (Forever®) commemorative stamps, available as a Pane of 20 stamps, a Block of 10 stamps, or a Block of 4 stamps.

On May 4, 2011, in Kennedy Space Center, Florida, the Postal Service™ will issue a Mercury Project/MESSENGER Mission se-tenant pair commemorative stamp (Forever® priced at 44 cents), in two designs in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) pane of 20 stamps.

One stamp commemorates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Project Mercury, America’s first manned spaceflight program, and NASA astronaut Alan Shepard’s historic flight on May 5, 1961, aboard the spacecraft Freedom 7.

The other stamp draws attention to NASA’s unmanned MESSENGER mission, a scientific investigation of the planet Mercury. On March 17, 2011, MESSENGER became the first spacecraft to enter into orbit around Mercury.

These two historic missions—Shepard’s Mercury flight and MESSENGER’s orbit of Mercury—frame a remarkable fifty-year period in which America has advanced space exploration through more than 1,500 manned and unmanned flights.

The Mercury Project stamp depicts Alan Shepard, the Mercury capsule Freedom 7, and the Redstone launching rocket. The MESSENGER Mission stamp depicts the MESSENGER spacecraft in orbit around the planet Mercury.

A three-time winner of the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist, Donato Giancola of Brooklyn, New York, illustrated the Mercury Project/MESSENGER Mission stamps under the direction of Phil Jordan.

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