September 26, 2019
— The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has released postage stamps commemorating its first astronaut's flight into space, 55 years after doing the same to honor international space travelers.
The Emirates Post issued the set of six stamps on Wednesday (Sept. 25), the same day that Hazzaa AlMansoori launched on Russia's Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft to the International Space Station. The new commemoratives were produced in collaboration with the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).
"We are honored to partner with MBRSC and issue a series of commemorative stamps to celebrate this momentous occasion and highlight the UAE's role in space exploration," said Abdulla Alashram, Acting Group CEO of the Emirates Post Group.
AlMansoori's 8-day space mission fulfills an aspiration that pre-dates his country being founded in 1971.
"In 1964, HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, God rest his soul, issued a stamp celebrating astronauts and space sciences, which demonstrates the nation's foresight and vision," said Alashram, referring to the former ruler of the Emirate of Dubai. "It is incredible that, in 55 years, this ambition has now been turned into a reality and the UAE is getting closer to achieving its goal of becoming a leader in the space industry."
Dubai's 1964 space stamps were issued under the theme "Honouring Astronauts," though they did not depict spacemen. The colorful stamps featured illustrations of sci-fi inspired rockets.
The newly-released 2019 stamps do not show AlMansoori's launch vehicle, but do feature his Soyuz spacecraft and his destination, the International Space Station. The set also includes stamps depicting AlMansoori, his backup, Sultan AlNeyadi, and the two UAE astronauts together.
"We are extremely proud of Hazza AlMansoori and Sultan AlNeyadi, who represent the pinnacle of UAE's ambitions," said Alashram. "On behalf of Emirates Post, I would like to wish both astronauts every success on this historic journey."
The sixth stamp reproduces AlMansoori's mission patch, which includes the silhouette of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the UAE. The emblem is inscribed "Zayed's Ambition" in arabic.
"The UAE space mission will mark an important milestone in the UAE's expanding space industry and inspire a new generation by showing them that anything is possible," Alashram said.
The Emirates Post is releasing 150,000 of the stamps, which are available from the Post's Central Happiness Centers in the UAE. A local servicer is also offering 1,000 first day of issue stamped envelopes, or "first day covers."