America's first woman in space can now be found at your local U.S. post office.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) on Wednesday (May 23) launched sales of a new postage stamp honoring Sally Ride. The commemorative issue features a portrait of the astronaut in her light blue flight suit with a depiction of the space shuttle lifting off in the background.
The new stamp's release precedes the 35th anniversary of Ride's history-making first flight into space — the June 18, 1983 launch of space shuttle Challenger on NASA's STS-7 mission. Ride became the first American woman to fly into space 20 years (and two days) after Soviet-era cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the world's first in 1963.
The 1.225-by-1.56-inch (3.11-by-3.96 cm) stamp costs 50 cents each, but as a Forever-denomination issue, it can be used to send a one ounce (28 grams) letter by First Class mail even if the rate increases in the future. The Sally Ride Forever stamps come 20 to a sheet, though they are also offered through the Postal Service's online shop in blocks of four and ten.
The USPS has printed 20 million of the Sally Ride Forever stamps for sale.
In addition to the stamp itself, the USPS is also offering a number of a collectibles related to its release.
Collectors, Sally Ride fans and interested members of the public can request first-day-of-issue postmarks by affixing the new stamp to an envelope of their choice, addressing it themselves or to others, and then mailing it inside a larger envelope to:
FDOI — Sally Ride Forever Stamp
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900
The special first day postmark features a representation of Ride's autograph, such that each stamp canceled will look as though she has signed the envelope.
After applying the postmark, the envelopes will be returned through the mail. There is no charge for postmarks up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, the USPS fee is 5 cents each. All requests must be sent by Sept. 23, 2018.
The USPS is also offering first day postmarked envelopes for sale on its website for 94 cents each. A separate digital color postmark, featuring a cancellation based on the STS-7 mission patch, is also available for $1.65 each.
In addition to the envelopes (also called "first day covers"), collectors can order die-cut press sheets containing nine of the Sally Ride stamp sheets for $90 each.
For those desiring to display the stamp, a framed art set is also for sale, which presents a mounted stamp along with an enlargement of illustrator Paul Salmon's portrait of Sally Ride. The 17-by-14-inch (43-by-35 cm) piece also features a photo of the STS-7 launch and a reproduction of Ride's autograph in a black frame with gold trim for $39.95.
Lastly, the USPS is offering a copy of the program from the stamp's official dedication ceremony being hosted by the University of California San Diego on Wednesday evening. The program comes with an envelope postmarked with the new Sally Ride Forever stamp for $6.95.
See more of the USPS's first-day-of-issue collectibles for the Sally Ride Forever stamp at collectSPACE.
Get the Space.com Newsletter
Breaking space news, the latest updates on rocket launches, skywatching events and more!
Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of collectSPACE.com, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for Space.com and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.