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US Postal Service to launch James Webb Space Telescope 'forever' stamp

The US Postal Service is honoring NASA's James Webb Space Telescope with a "forever" stamp.
The US Postal Service is honoring NASA's James Webb Space Telescope with a "forever" stamp, which will open for general sale on Sept. 8, 2022. (Image credit: USPS)

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is celebrating NASA's revolutionary James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) with a new "Forever" stamp.

The new James Webb Space Telescope Forever stamps will be available for preorder on Aug. 8 through the USPS's online stamp store (opens in new tab), and will open for general sale on Sept. 8. 

The stamp commemorates the start of the telescope's science mission and depicts the James Webb Space Telescope's iconic golden honeycomb mirror and its large sunshields in space as  Earth and the moon can be seen in the distance behind it. A deep-field view of space can be seen reflected in the telescope's mirrors. According to a USPS statement (opens in new tab) announcing the stamp, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, which operates Webb for NASA, provided an image to the stamp's designer, Derry Noyes. 

Related: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope mission: Live updates

The new JWST stamps are known as "Forever" stamps because they "can be used to mail a one-ounce letter regardless of when the stamps are purchased or used and no matter how prices may change in the future," according to a USPS fact sheet (opens in new tab).

The $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope is the culmination of nearly two decades of research and development. The infrared space observatory launched on Dec. 25, 2021 from Europe's Spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana, aboard an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket. After 30 days, the telescope reached its permanent home at L2, the second sun-Earth Lagrange point, on Jan. 24, 2022. 

On July 11, NASA declared that all 17 of the telescope's scientific instruments were operational, ready to begin peering into the most distant reaches of space yet, and the next day released the telescope's stunning first science-quality images. Throughout its projected 10-plus-year lifespan, the telescope will study the earliest known stars and gaze back farther into the universe's past than ever before. Webb will also scour the atmospheres of exoplanets for signs that they might be able to support life.

A free, open-to-the-public event (opens in new tab) will be held on Sept. 8 at 11:00 a.m. ET at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the launch of the new Webb stamps.

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Brett Tingley
Brett Tingley

Brett is a science and technology journalist who is curious about emerging concepts in spaceflight and aerospace, alternative launch concepts, anti-satellite technologies, and uncrewed systems. Brett's work has appeared on The War Zone at TheDrive.com, Popular Science, the History Channel, Science Discovery, and more. Brett obtained a Bachelor’s degree in English from Clemson University and a Master’s degree in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In his free time, Brett is a working musician, a hobbyist electronics engineer and cosplayer, an avid LEGO fan, and enjoys hiking and camping throughout the Appalachian Mountains with his wife and two children.