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GPO Touch Down for Astronaut to unveil Space Exploration stamps

19 July 2019

GPO, Dublin, Ireland – 18 July, 2019: Retired Colonel, U.S. Air Force and NASA astronaut, Cady Coleman unveiled four new Space Exploration stamps, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing and US astronauts of Irish ancestry. 

Photos from the stamp launch will be distributed this afternoon by Maxwell Photography

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Cady Coleman is one of four astronauts featured on the stamps, along with Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Eileen Collins. Speaking about being honoured on an Irish stamp and citing her own heroes, Cady said this recognition is “Important for other people, particularly women and people of colour, who can see me on a stamp and think that they too could be this person.  Katherine Johnson, Bessie Coleman and Sally Ride were pioneers of flight and of space exploration.” 
 
The €1 stamps designed by Detail Design Studio are valid for postage within the island of Ireland and available in selected post offices, online at irishstamps.ie or by phone at (353 1) 705 7400. This special stamp issue also includes a First Day Cover envelope (€4) and colourful Miniature Stamp Sheet (€5) which can also be bought online at irishstamps.ie or at the GPO, Dublin.

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With Irish heritage on both sides of her family, Catherine (Cady) Grace Coleman, is a veteran of two space shuttle missions, most recently in 2011. During her last mission aboard the International Space Station, she recorded three songs for The Chieftains' 50th anniversary album — the first time anyone has ever recorded an album in space.  Cady Coleman spent more than 4,330 hours in space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia and the International Space Station.
 
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Eileen Collins, the daughter of two Irish immigrants from County Cork, became the first woman to pilot a space shuttle mission during the ‘Discovery’s’ rendezvous with the space station ‘Mir’ in 1995. By 1999, she was given command of the space shuttle ‘Columbia’, another first for a woman.   

Warmly welcoming the new stamps, Eileen Collins said “I see myself as someone who took an unusual job at age 21.  I see myself as someone who loves to FLY!  I always wanted to go further, faster and higher than anyone before.  But I don’t see it as ME on a stamp.  Rather, it is the position:  woman astronaut, or woman space shuttle commander: Someone was going to fill that role eventually.  I credit the opportunity!   The reasons why we go to space now are the same as they were 50 years ago at the time of the moon landing - most people understand that by going to space we are solving earthly problems.”
Two astronauts involved in the moon landing also feature on the stamp issue: On July 20, 1969, ‘Apollo 11’ astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin became the first people to land on the Moon. Mission Commander Armstrong, who had roots in County Fermanagh, stepped onto the lunar surface and famously described the event as “…. one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind".
 
Michael Collins, ‘Apollo 11’ Command Module Pilot remained in lunar orbit during the successful moon walk. He is one of only 24 people to have flown to the Moon. His Irish roots can be traced to the town of Dunmanway, County Cork, from where his grandfather, Jeremiah Collins, emigrated in the 1860s.
 
In recognition of Cady Coleman’s pride in her Irish roots, a special tour of the GPO Witness History museum formed part of her visit, highlighting the many historic links between the U.S. and Ireland.
 
Speaking about the importance of space exploration she said “People will always explore new places - being outside of our planet through space exploration is compelling for humans.  Also, by exploring space we are improving life on Earth, through developing new technologies, finding solutions for issues like water recycling and the more efficient growth of crops and food sources, and understanding the human body.”
 
For further information contact Anna McHugh 086 2530697/ Angus Laverty 087 6867024 at An Post Communications.