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Sally Rides stamp: The history of the philatelic portrait of an astronaut



22nd May 2018

– Sally Ride did not know it at the time, there's no way to have her, but a photo she signed 35 years ago would provide inspiration for her portrait on a new US postage

The US Postal Service (USPS) on Wednesday (May 23) is to honor the deceased astronaut, who launched in 1983 as the first American woman in space. The issue of Forever Denomination is the second time in USPS history that an astronaut has been honored this way.

"Sally Ride's history trip has made it easier for young girls to dream of a day as an astronaut" An engineer, a physicist or a mathematician, "said Kristin Sever, chief information officer and executive vice president of the USPS, in a statement. "Today, girls are not just dreaming. Because of the trailblazers like Sally Ride, they were authorized to do so! "

Seaver is joined by tennis legend Billie Jean King and the first Hispanic woman in space, Ellen Ochoa, for the Rubber Stamp Officer inauguration ceremony at the University of California San Diego on Wednesday Evening Ride, who died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 61

in 2012, is represented by her partner Tam O & # 39; Shaughnessy, who co-founded and now leads the Sally Ride Science facility at UC San Diego.

"Sally would feel I'm deeply honored, "said O & # 39; Shaughnessy.

Signed by Sally

More than a year ago, the Stamp Advisory Committee of the Citizen, a group appointed by the Postmaster-General www.spain.fsfeurope.org/documents/r…3-09.de.html

"The post office certainly tries to include diversity in every respect, so that too was First American astronaut important, "said Bill Gicker, creative director of Sally Ride's stamp program, in conversation with collectSPACE. "In that sense, it was something we were all looking forward to."

In collaboration with NASA, the USPS initially explored Rides career as an astronaut and flowed through the photo archives of Rides two shuttle flights. But no picture stood out as a strong candidate for the stamp.

"There were many pictures of Sally Ride, but they did not necessarily have great photos, they may have taken their picture well, but you also have to consider the technical quality of the picture," Gicker explained.

Gicker commissioned USPS Art Director Ethel Kessler to design the stamp, which in turn immediately knew who she wanted to work with.

"I looked at the photo research and then took the phone to call Paul Salmon," she recalls.

A veteran illustrator selected by NASA for his art program to document the early Space Shuttle program, including Rides history of flight aboard the space shuttle Challenger, Salmon has experience customizing aviation issues for stamps. He was the artist behind the US "First Supersonic Flight" stamp issued in 1997 to commemorate Chuck Yeager's sonic wall in 1947, and the 1999 stamp honoring pilot "Billy Mitchell" as the "Father of the US Air Force."

"Paul knows just about everything there is to know about aviation, he loves to work in this arena, he's great and I had not worked with him for a long time, it was a breeze for me easy on, "said Kessler.

Salmon was pleased with the opportunity and, as it turned out, it was almost kismet that he was selected.

"The postal service had difficulty creating a good photo of Ride's stamp," he told CollectSPACE. "But I happened to have a signed photograph of the shuttle crew that flew on this mission and it was signed to me."

"It shows all the astronauts who flew the STS-7 mission and this smiling face of Sally, what's on the stamp now, was in this group photo," he said.

Adding Gravitas

Salmon used his signed copy of NASA's crew portrait to make his painting of Ride.

"I worked from this photo because she was smiling and I thought she looked very comfortable there," he said.

But both Kessler and Salmon agreed that Ride's portrait alone did not adequately tell her story in the context of a stamp. 19659003] "Their facial features are 'cute', and that's not what astronauts should look like," Kessler said. "We had to find a way to give her picture a gravitao to honor her the way she should be honored."

For Salmon, the way to get there was obvious – show their start.

"I wanted to include the Space Shuttle in the portrait, because I think the start, the start, is probably the most dangerous time and I am wanted to show, "said Salmon. "It's more like an explosion of power, you're leaving gravity and it's a dangerous time."

"A lot of things could go wrong," he continued. "I wanted to show the danger of the mission and the bravery of the person entering the space shuttle and going upstairs, especially a woman – she was the first American woman to do that – it was a big deal for the country and for humanity. "

The USPS obtained a photo of the launch on June 18, 1983, which showed the shuttle in profile when it lifted off NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As he had done for Ride's portrait, Salmon took the photo with the starting picture as inspiration for his painting of the shuttle.

But he also added his own touches, like the clouds above the launch pad.

"That's artist freedom, the sky was not like that," says Salmon. "I beautified [the clouds] to increase the drama and the danger of taking off."

At the suggestion of Kessler, Lachs first designed the art to appear on a horizontal mark. Salmon sketched Ride's portrait on one side and the start on the other side, both of which were balanced as themes for the overall brand.

After reviewing the draft with the advisory committee, however, the decision was made to go vertical.

A fitting tribute

"This format is called & # 39; semi-jumbo & # 39 ;," describes Kessler. "It's a little less big and it's a bit wider than the commemorative format, but I think it's reached the two things we wanted to try."

"We were able to get the start, but at the same time, do not make it equal to their head, as we did with the very first, horizontal version," she said.

After a year of refining charcoal drawings and painting, Salmon is thrilled to pay tribute to Sally Ride

"I'm very proud to have created a stamp for a very brave astronaut," Salmon told collectSPACE. "And I'm proud of the fact that she was the first American woman in the universe."

Salmon still has a file full of his sketches and ideas for the stamp, but his final art, which is about the same size as the signed NASA crew portrait that inspired them, is now owned by the USPS finally reside in the Smithsonian.

"We have to own art because stamps are like currency, and the artwork is like the plates used to create dollar bills," Gicker explained. "So it will stay with the Post Office for several years and eventually be handed over to the Smithsonian & # 39; s Postal Museum, where they will house the rest of the Postmaster General Collection."

Meanwhile, 20 million of the Sally Ride stamps will cross the nation, if not the orbit of the world, as used by the public and rescued by collectors.

"This opportunity to design stamps is really a remarkable one," said Kessler. "I know that I learn something new with each project – sometimes very much – and I work with extraordinary people and then we work together through this whole massive process."

"I think we made Sally riding justice and I think she would be proud," said Kessler.


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