Definition for Astrophilately

Astrophilately is the study of space flights and space-related events with philatelic material.

It is a philatelic study of the historical, scientific and technical progress achieved in the exploration of space. This includes early stratosphere research, the development of rocketry and the precursors to the various types of spacecraft. The relevant projects, events and space programmes are documented.

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The Guidelines for Astrophilately, as approved by F.I.P. in 2022, are on the F.I.P. Astrophilatelic Section of this site.

"The Fallen Astronaut" - Hotel Botanic Sanctuary - Antwerp City

Man in Space - Fallen Astronaut
Paul Van Hoeydonck (Antwerpen, °1925)

Life size replica of 'Fallen Astronaut',
the only sculpture on the moon (aluminium, 8,5 cm),
placed there in 1971 by the astronauts of Apollo 15:
David Scott, Jim Irwin and Al Worden.

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  • The "Fallen Astronaut"

    Fallen Astronaut is an 8.5 cm aluminum sculpture of an astronaut created by Belgian artist Paul Van Hoeydonck.

    It was the first, and to date the only, art object on the moon. The "Fallen Astronaut" came to the moon because the crew of the U.S. Apollo 15 space mission wanted to make a personal gesture in honor of the American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts who had given their lives for the development of space exploration. David Scott, the commander of the mission, met Paul Van Hoeydonck. Scott knew that Van Hoeydonck used the theme of space travel in his art and discussed the idea of a sculpture with him. From this grew an agreement that Paul Van Hoeydonck would create a figurine to place on the moon.

    Van Hoeydonck was given some design guidelines by David Scott. The figurine had to be light and sturdy and able to withstand the extreme temperature differences on the moon. Also, the figurine was to be genderless nor appear to belong to any particular ethnic group. Because David Scott did not want commercialization of space, Paul Van Hoeydonck's name would not be made public.

    On August 2, 1971, David Scott placed a plaque on the moon at the end of the final spacewalk of the Apollo 15 mission. This contains the fourteen names of all the astronauts and cosmonauts known to have perished at the time.

    Scott placed the "Fallen Astronaut" statue next to it in fallen state. It was also Scott who took the photograph of the statue and the plaque.

    The tiny, figurine represents fallen astronauts and cosmonauts:

    Charles A. Bassett II
    Pavel I. Belyayev
    Roger B. Chaffee
    Georgi Dobrovolsky
    Theodore C. Freeman
    Yuri A. Gagarin
    Edward G. Givens Jr.
    Virgil I. Grissom
    Vladimir Komarov
    Viktor Patsayev
    Elliot M. See Jr.
    Vladislav Volkov
    Edward H. White II,
    Clifton C. Williams Jr.

News on Astrophilately

  • Cosmos Express # 243

    Finally, I know, a new Cosmos Express with a lot of exciting news about astrophilately.


    • New logo for Cosmos
    • Short news on astrophilately
    • The Virgin Galactic flights - space-tourism
    • Starlink satellites
    • Boeing X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle
    • Shenlong - Chinese space shuttle
    • Sea launch for Chinese private company
    • Shenzhou 16 and 17
    • The Space Adventures of Star Trek
    • Upcoming Exhibitions
  • Kennedy Space Center - Post Office closed

    As of September 26th, the Kennedy Space Center Post Office is definitely closed for future postmarks of flights.

    Kennedy Space Center post office in Florida to close in late September

    The contractor for the Kennedy Space Center post office in Florida recently re- ported that it “will close per- manently near the end of the fiscal year,” which concludes Sept. 30, 2023.
    Notice of the closure came through an undated an- nouncement from Thomas A Spaur, the post office’s super- visor. Kennedy Space Center is a substation of the Orlando, Fla., post office operated under contract from NASA.
    The closure means there will no longer be a postmark from Kennedy Space Center. Collectors have until Sept. 15 to submit covers for a Kenne- dy Space Center cancel. The exact final date for Kennedy Space Center cancellations will depend on when the sta- tion is actually closed.

    Read article in Linn's Magazine here