FIRST DAY COVERS
|France's unmanned space programme (Ariane)
|France operates its own space programme along side of the ESA called CNES. Whereas the ESA works with NASA in its manned and robotic space programmes the main purpose of the CNES is the launching of Earth satellites using its Ariane launch vehicles.
|This cover cancelled in French Guiana at Kourou launch site shows the evolution of the Ariane launch vehicles.
|India's unmanned space flights
|This 1981 cover commemorates the achievements of India's space programmes with their satellite launch.
|International Space Station
|Construction of the ISS began in 1998 and is due for completion in 2011. The first two Shuttle flights to build the ISS were STS-88 on 4-December-1998 and STS-98 on 7-February-2001.
|Here we have an attractive Russian first day cover issued in February 2009 for the Progress M66 re-supply flight to the International Space Station.
|SpaceShipOne: First privately funded manned space flight
Developed by Mojave Aerospace Ventures, SpaceShipOne was launched from under the wing of the WhiteKnightOne launch vehicle. On 21-June-2004, it made the first privately funded human spaceflight which was followed on 4-October the same year winning the $10 million Ansari X Prize. After these two sub orbital flights SpaceShipOne was retired and develpoment began for Virgin Galatic's SpaceShipTwo.
This cover was issued for the first mission on 21st June.
|A second cover, this one for the second mission on 4th-October-2004.
|Shenzhou 5 - China's first manned space flight
On 15-October-2003 China made history by becoming the third country to achieve manned space flight. The space craft Shenzhou 5 with its soul occupant Yang Liwei, orbited the Earth for 21 hours (14 orbits). A new word for Chinese astronauts was subsequently coined for the Chinese astronauts – “taikonauts”, “taikong” being a Chinese word for Space.
This is China's official first day cover issued for the event.
|Here we have a miniature sheet first day cover also issued commemorating the flight of China's first manned space craft, Shenzhou-5.
|Pictured here is a launch cover for the Shenzhou 5 mission, cancelled 15-October-2003.
|and here is the matching landing cover, cancelled 16-October-2003.
|This covers was issued for the second anniversary of China's first manned space flight mission. This cover was issued featuring the individual crew stamps and matching cachets of Yang Liwei.
|This is another cover issued on the second anniversary of the Shenzhou 5 mission.
China's second manned space flight was launched 12-October-2005 and saw a crew of two (Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng) orbited the Earth for 5 days.
This cover was limited to just 100,000 copies and was issued for the launch of the Shenzhou-6 orbiter.
|Here we have another official Shenzhou-6 first day cover limited to 100,000 copies.
|One of the two covers issued for the Shenzhou 6 mission. These covers were issued featuring the individual crew stamps and matching cachets. This cover features Nie Haisheng.
|Here is the second cover issued for the Shenzhou 6 mission also featuring the individual crew stamp and cachet. This cover features Fei Junlong.
|Another cover commemorating the success of the Shenzhou 6 mission.
|Chang'e-1 - China's first lunar orbiter
Chang'e-1 was launched 24-October-2007 and was China's first unmanned lunar orbiter. It took 12 days to reach the moon and orbited at a distance of 200km.
Limited to just 200,000 copies and featuring its own stamp issue, this cover commemorates the lunar orbiter Chang'-e1.
|This cover is cancelled for the launch of Chang'e-1.
|Another cover commemorate China's lunar orbiter.
|And another cover commemorate China's lunar orbiter.
|As with the the previous four covers above, this cover was limited to just 250,000.
|Shenzhou 7 - China's first space walk
Launched 25-September-2008 and lasting three days, Shenzhou 7 featured China's first space walk (EVA) by Zhai Zhigang. The two other crew members were Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng.
Once again there was only 200,000 copies of this cover issued to commemorate the launch of the Shenzhou-7 orbiter.
|This is one of the 200,000 covers of this cachet issued to commemorate China's first space walk (EVA).
|One of the three covers issued for the Shenzhou 7 mission. This one features Zhai Zhigang the first Shenzhou Taikonaut to achieve an EVA (space walk).
|Like the covers above for the previous two Shenzhou missions, these covers were issued featuring the individual crew stamps and matching cachets. Here featuring Jing Haipeng.
|Here is the third cover issued for the Shenzhou 7 mission also featuring the individual crew stamp and cachet. This one for Liu Boming.
|Just a regular cover commemorating the Shenzhou 7 mission.
|Another cover commemorating the success of the Shenzhou 7 mission.
|A limited edition release was this set of six cards commemorating the crew and mission of Shenzhou 7.
|Another limited edition release was this different set of six cards and stamp releases commemorating the crew and mission of Shenzhous 5, 6 and 7.
|Chang'e-2 - China's lunar orbiter
Chang'e-2 was launched 1-October-2010 and took 5 days to reach the moon entering a 100km high orbit.
This cover commemorates the launch of Chang'-e 2.
|And this cover is cancelled to commemorate Chang'e-2 entering lunar orbit 6-October-2010.
|Tiangong 1 - China's docking station
Tiangong-1 was launched on 29-September-2011 as a orbital station to practice dockings for the Shenzhou missions. The first of which was the unmanned Shenzhou-8, which docked with Tiangong-1 on 2-November-2011. It will be followed by two manned missions before Tiangong-1 is deorbited in 2013 and replaced by Tiangong-2.
This cover was limited to 60000 copies and was issued for the launch of Tiangong-1.
|And this cover is also cancelled for the launch.
|Shenzhou 8 / Tiangong 1 - China's first space docking
|The unmanned Shenzhou 8 craft docked with Tiangong 1 on 3-November-2011. This cover is issued for the event.
|Shenzhou 9 / Tiangong 1 - China's first manned docking and first Chinese women in space
On 18th June 2012, Shenzhou 9 recorded the first manned docking with Tiangong 1. This flight, launched on the 16th June, was also notable for achieving the first Chinese woman in space and in another first this was the first time an existing Taikonaut, Jing Haipeng, returned to space. The flight returned to Earth on the 29-June lasting some 13 days in orbit.
This cover was issued with images of the crew.
|This cover was cancelled for the 16-June-2012 launch of the Shenzhou 9 space craft.
|Another cover issued for the launch of the Shenzhou 9 mission.
|This cover features stamps issued to commemorate the first docking.
|Also issued are these set of three crew covers cancelled to commemorate the first manned docking. This one is for Jing Haipeng's second spaceflight.
|This cover was issued to commemorate the first Chinese female taikonaut, Liu Yang. The mission's launch was 49 years to the day after that of the first woman in space, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova.
|This cover was for the third crew member Liu Wang. These three covers feature the stamp issued to commemorate the Tiangong space station.
|Pictured here is an official postcard released for the Shenzhou 9 flight and crew.
|Shenzhou 10 / Tiangong 1
Shenhou 10 was launched on 11 June 2013 and had a duration of 15 days, surpassing Shenzhou 9's previous record by 2 days. The mission's three crew were: Nie Haisheng, who previously flew on Shenzhou 6, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping, the second Chinese female astronaut. This was the last mission to the Tiangong 1 space station.
This is the official first day cover set pack issued for Shenzhou 10.
|This is a mission crew cover issued for the Shenzhou 10 mission.
|This is the mission crew cover issued with the first day cover set.
|This is the crew cover issued for Nie Haisheng on his second space mission.
|This is the crew cover for Wang Yaping, the second female Taikonaut.
|This is the crew cover issued for Zhang Xiaoguang.
|Pictured here is an official postcard released for the Shenzhou 10 flight and crew.
|This is the official stamp release featuring all the Chinese Taikonauts who have partaken in the Shenzhou missions to date.
|Chang'e-3 - China's lunar orbiter/lander/rover
Chang'e-3 was launched 1-December-2013 and entered orbit on the 6th. Chang'e-3 landed on the lunar surface December-14 (the first soft landing since 1976), deploying the Yutu Lunar Rover.
This cover is cancelled for the 1st December launch.
|This second cover from the set is cancelled for the day Chang E3 entered lunar orbit (6th December).
|The third cover is cancelled for the 14th December lunar landing.
|and the final cover from the set is cancelled for the deployment of the Yutu Lunar rover.